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Legal Action Against Copyright Infringement Under the Copyright Act


Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

The Copyright Act of 1957 sets the rules for copyright law in India. Its goal is to protect the rights of writers, singers, artists, and other creators over their original works. The Act says that only people who own copyrights can copy, share, perform, and adapt works. If someone copies, distributes, or shows a written work in public without permission, this is called copyright infringement. This could be the work that is being made available to the public, displayed in any way, performed live, translated, or modified, or included in a sound recording or movie. People who break the law may face both legal and civil consequences.

Activities that Don’t Violate Copyright

Section 52 of the Copyright Act says that using a work that is protected by intellectual property rights does not always mean breaking the law. These exceptions let the work be used legally in the ways below:

  • Research or private study: The Act lets you make a copy of a work for research or private study.
  • Criticism or review: Short parts from a book may be quoted in a review or analysis of that work.
  • Current events reporting: It is not illegal to reproduce or make public brief parts from a work in order to cover current events.
  • Backup copies of computer programs: Computer software backup copies are allowed for approved users.
  • Reverse engineering for interoperability: Under some situations, a computer programme can be decompiled to achieve interoperable with other software.
  • Transient storage during electronic transmission: Brief or unintentional retention of a work during a technical process of electronic transfer or public communication is not an infringement.
  • Reproduction for court procedures: A legal practitioner is allowed to copy a work for the purpose of judicial processes or professional advice.
  • Publication by government: Governmental or legislative duplication of a work for official use is allowed.

These exceptions admit that some applications of works protected by copyright should not be limited by copyright law because they further important public interests. The exemptions are not, however, broad freedom to utilize copyrighted material without permission.

Penalties for Companies

Companies may be made to answer for copyright violations by their directors, owners, and staff. Companies are held responsible by the Copyright Act for infringement committed by their workers, even in cases when the company did not personally engage in the infringement. Leaders and officials may be held personally responsible if they sanction, allow, or support the violation. Companies may be punished with injunctions, copies that are infringed being taken, and penalties and earnings given. Legal sanctions, like fines and imprisonment, may also strike those guilty of the violation. Businesses should put rules into place to stop copyright violations and guarantee staff compliance.

Owners’ Rights Against Infringement

Copyright owners are allowed to sue infringers and recover illegal copies, as well as the plates, molds, matrices, or other equipment used to create such copies. This prevents further unauthorized reproduction and allows the owner to take the protected content out of circulation.

The Copyright Act does, however, give an exemption if the defendant can show they were ignorant of and had no good reason to think that copyright existed in the work. In such situations, the defendant may be allowed to keep the copies that are infringing if the copyright owner gets just compensation. This exemption recognizes that harmless infringement should not be punished as seriously as intentional, knowing violation.

Who is the Copyright Owner?

According to Section 54 of the Copyright Act, the “owner of copyright” comprises:

  • The copyright’s sole licensee.
  • Until the author’s name is known, the publisher of anonymous or pseudonymous literary, theatrical, musical, or artistic works is called the copyright owner.
  • When joint authorship works are released under pseudonyms, the publisher keeps ownership until any of the joint author’s names are made public.

When the true author’s name is unknown, this special provision for anonymous and pseudonymous works ensures the presence of an accepted copyright owner. Until the author chooses to come forward, these works will be protected and financially utilized.

Infringement Civil Remedies

Owners of copyrights have the following legal choices against infringers:

  • Orders to stop more infringement
  • Punitive fines for losses brought on by the infringement
  • Accounts of the earnings the infringer got from the acts of infringement
  • Legal costs of the civil proceedings

The defendant has the burden of showing they had no cause to think there was copyright in the work and were ignorant of it. Should the defendant be unable to show their ignorance, the court can impose further damages up to twice the profits and damages combined.

Copyright owners have effective tools with these legal remedies to stop infringement and get back losses and illicit gains from violators. The assumption of knowledge forces possible infringers to make sure they have permission before abusing a work covered by copyright.

Specific Rights of Authors

Authors are gifted with certain moral rights under the Copyright Act in addition to economic rights. These consist of the rights to claim ownership of the work and to stop any distortion, mutilation, or change of the work that would damage the author’s image or respect. Independent of the author’s economic rights, these moral rights continue long after the author moves their economic rights.

Criminal Penalty for Infringement

Copyright infringement carries criminal penalties outlined in Sections 63, 63A, and 63B of the Copyright Act. A commercially profitable offense carries a maximum three-year jail sentence and a maximum two lakh rupee fine. Repeat abusers will pay more. Infringing sound records and films is more serious; the term is up to seven years. Under Section 64, police are allowed to take illegal copies and the tools used to make them.

False Entries and Statements Penalties

False entries in the Register of Copyrights or false claims meant to convince the Registrar to make any entry, remove any entry, or issue a copy of any document are punishable by up to a year in jail under the Copyright Act. With this rule, abuse of the copyright registration system is to be avoided.


It takes observing copyrights to encourage innovation and talent in society. Copyright infringement robs writers and other artists of their due pay for their labor. The consequences can be serious; both criminal and civil punishments include fines, damages, injunctions, and even imprisonment. Enforcing their rights and preventing infringement by legal action is mostly the duty of copyright owners. Publicly useful creative environments are partly kept by copyright owners who strongly defend their intellectual property. Ensuring author rights and promoting the arts and culture rely on supporting the Copyright Act.

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Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.