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Defending Your Copyright: Remedies Against Infringement


Individuals are given rights over their original creations, known as intellectual property rights (IPR). For a specific amount of time, they often grant the inventor the sole right to utilize their creation. The five categories of intellectual property are copyright, patents, trademarks, geographical indications, and industrial designs.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a term used to describe the ownership rights of creators of creative works. Copyright gives the author of a work the only right to it and prohibits reproduction and unauthorized publishing.

A work becomes protected by copyright once it is made and expressed physically. Original works are protected by copyright.

Only the original expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves, is protected by copyright. The fundamental justification for this is that such protection would restrict the free exchange of ideas and hence contradict the primary goal of copyright laws, which is to foster creativity. Therefore, ideas, methods, and procedures are regarded as common property, and authors are free to convey their ideas however they see fit.

Example of copyrights

  • If someone makes a beautiful sculpture, they will be granted the copyright to it.
  • The copyright of a film’s creators protects it.

The following classes of works are eligible for copyright under Section 13 of the Copyright Act of 1957:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works
  • Cinematographic films
  • Sound recording

What does copyright not protect?

Copyright law protects the creative expression of ideas; the concept itself is not protected, as stated above (before the example portion). The main argument against copyrighting ideas is that doing so would impede the free exchange of ideas, defeating the aim of copyright laws, which is to promote creativity. As a result, concepts, frameworks, and methods are seen as the collective property of all individuals, and authors are allowed to present or explain them however they see fit.

Importance of copyright

Copyright protection has the following advantages:

  • It offers a useful method for safeguarding original content.
  • It aids in recognizing individuals for their contributions.
  • It gives the owner of the original work the exclusive right to reproduction, duplication, transcription, and translation.
  • The owner of the original work has the right to prevent unauthorized use of it and to take legal action if infringement occurs.
  • By enabling owners to profit from and have their creative work protected, copyright fosters creativity in society.

Rights safeguarded by copyright

Two categories of rights are protected by copyright:

1. Economic rights

Owners of copyrights are entitled to economic rights. These rights are sometimes called economic rights because they enable the owner to make money from using his creation. The Copyright Act of 1957 does not offer all works the same economic rights. In other words, these rights are arranged by categories of works that are copyright-protected. As a result, there are more distinct economic rights accessible for films than there are for books.

2. Moral rights

The heart of the author’s writings comes from his or her moral values. The author has the right to protect, preserve, and nurture his works due to his or her moral obligations. Even when the author has licensed or leased all of his or her economic rights to a third party, his or her moral rights remain his property. Economic rights are different from moral rights. This indicates that the author will always own these rights and cannot be transferred.

Copyright infringement

According to copyright regulations, the owner of a work is given some rights, and by using those rights, the owner can make money. If anybody other than the owner exercises any of these rights about the work without the owner’s consent or authorization from a competent authority as required by law, it is a violation of copyright.

There are essentially two types of infringement:

1. Primary infringement

The primary infringement is the act of directly copying the owner’s work. One instance is the commercial distribution of books using photocopies.

2. Secondary infringement

A copyright violation occurs only when an unauthorized person copies a sizable chunk of the work. It covers a variety of business practices, including copying a lyricist’s slogan or selling unlicensed books.

Section 51 of the Copyright Act of 1957 deals with copyright violations. This section determines when copyright has been violated.

  • When someone violates the author’s copyright by: 
  • Doing anything for which only the owner is granted exclusive rights under this Copyright Act or 
  • Permitting the financial gain of such a piece intended to be used for communication to the public.
  • When someone engages in any of the following actions:
  • Makes, sells, employs, distributes for sale, exhibits in public, or imports into India any copies of the work that are unauthorized.

Remedies of copyright infringement

Some of the remedies for copyright infringement include the following:

  1. Civil remedy
  2. Criminal remedy
  3. Administrative remedy

Only the civil and criminal remedies—the first two—have any real practical importance.

1. Civil remedies

I. Interlocutory injunctions

Since most lawsuits begin with a request for interlocutory relief and because most cases never leave the interlocutory stage, the issuance of an interlocutory injunction is the most crucial civil remedy.

The work owner requests a court order in an interlocutory injunction to stop the person from using the copyrighted literary work.

An injunction may be issued in advance of the trial and only be effective up to that point or until further orders are issued, or it may be final and irrevocable.

The purpose of interlocutory injunctions is to provide the plaintiff with an immediate and temporary defence against any continuing violation of his or her rights for which he or she cannot receive full compensation through monetary damages.

Only under the following circumstances can an interim injunction be granted:

The three criteria are a prima facie case, a balance of convenience, and irreparable harm.

II. Pecuniary remedies

The Copyright Act of 1957’s Sections 55 and 58 offer financial relief to copyright owners who encounter infringement problems. Pecuniary damages are those that the sufferer has suffered financially.

The damaged party is eligible for the following remedies:

  • An account of profit lawsuit is filed against the defendant to recover any profits that have accrued due to the violation.
  • Compensatory damages: Financial awards awarded to an injured party to compensate for losses are known as compensatory damages.
  • Conversion damages: The copyright owner is entitled to compensation depending on the value of the work for the conversion of any unauthorized copies.

III. Anton Pillar orders

The following things make up these orders:

  • A restraining order preventing the defendant from selling or disposing of fake goods.
  • A court order requires the defendant to reveal its suppliers’ and clients’ names and addresses.
  • A court order granting the plaintiff’s attorneys access to the defendant’s property so they can inspect it and remove any items they have in their possession but are not using. In plain English, it is an order permitting the solicitors for the plaintiff to search the defendant’s property.

IV. Mareva injunction

It is a court order that temporarily seizes a defendant’s assets to stop them from being sold in violation of the judgment.

V. Norwich Pharmacal orders

The techniques for obtaining information from third parties are employed under these orders.

2. Criminal remedies

The following are some criminal penalties for copyright violations:

  • Punishment by jail, which may last up to three years and cannot be less than six months
  • Penalties must be at least Rs. 50,000 but may go as high as Rs. 2,000,000
  • Searching for and seizing counterfeit items
  • Shipment of counterfeit goods to the copyright holder

The copyright of another person’s work may be violated, and the offender may face criminal and civil consequences. A person may not always require the permission of the copyright owners to use his or her work because there are several exceptions to copyright infringement. Therefore, it is usually recommended to develop original content rather than using someone else’s copyrighted work without permission.

3. Administrative remedy

Administrative remedies include petitioning the Registrar of Copyrights to restrict the import of infringing copies into India and delivering the confiscated infringing copies to the copyright owner when an infringement occurs through an importation (bringing goods into a country from abroad for sale).


The purpose of copyright is to protect the rights of those who create original works and to give them financial compensation for their toil and creativity. Computer programs and databases, as are other innovative literary or artistic works, are covered by copyright.

Although registration is not required for a work to be protected by copyright, it is generally advised because it will serve as legal evidence in a legal dispute.

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