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Types of Copyright Infringement in India


Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

The speedy boom of digital content and how easy it is to share and copy have made intellectual property rights even harder to comprehend. The protection of copyright ensures that content stays genuine, has never been seen before, and creators get paid appropriately for their work. It tries to protect the purity of the digital space by preventing the illegal use and abuse of safeguarded contents. Copyright registration is important to support creation, innovation, and economic growth. This article will address the different types of copyright infringements in India, the rules that regulate them, and how people affected can get relief.

The Primary Copyright Infringement

If someone does anything illegal without the owner’s permission, that is a primary infringement. This covers everything from making copies, lending or selling copies, showing, playing, or performing the work in public, telling people about it, or modifying it. The primary infringement is found by the following main standards:

  • Significant Taking: The infringer must take the original work to a large extent. This could be done directly or indirectly, like when a big part of the work is copied or used in a derivative work.
  • Casual Relationship: The infringer must have a casual relationship with the protected work. This shows that rather than just knowing the information exists, the infringement must have copied or utilised it.

Being a strict responsibility tort, primary infringement does not depend on the infringer’s mental state. Even when the infringer was unaware of the copyright or did not plan to infringe it, they may still be held responsible.

Secondary Infringement

Secondary infringement, sometimes referred to as indirect infringement, is the act of supporting, backing, or letting another person infringe a copyright. This could cover people or groups who somehow back the infringement even when they do not directly infringe the copyright. Secondary infringement includes, for instance:

  • Unauthorised use for profit: The illegal sale or sharing of copies of a protected work for financial gain.
  • Selling Unauthorised Copies: Distributing or selling copies of a work covered by copyright without the owner’s consent.
  • Distributing Illegal Copies: Sharing or giving access to illegal copies of a work covered by copyright, whether music or software.
  • Importing Illegal Copies: Selling or sending illegal copies of protected material, including software or DVDs that have been pirated.

Secondary infringement requires showing that the infringer purposefully helped or assisted it, which is sometimes more difficult to prove than primary infringement. Still, it is a grave infringement of copyright law with probably serious legal effects.

Finding Copyright Infringement

Indian courts weigh a number of important factors for deciding copyright infringement:

  • Substantial Similarity: The court examines whether the original work and the supposedly copied production are substantially similar. This means determining whether the two works share a large amount of material, structure, or artistic components.
  • Access to the Copyrighted Work: The court also takes into account whether the accused infringer had access to the protected information. This might be secondary, such as being able to buy the work, or direct, such as working for the copyright owner.

There are cases in which infringement might not be detected:

  • Fair Use: The unauthorised use of a protected work for news reporting, criticism, teaching, or research.
  • Private Use: Copying a song for one’s own pleasure or other personal, non-commercial use of a copyrighted work.
  • Educational Use: Using a protected work for educational reasons, such as copying a manual in a school.

These exemptions might have difficult and fact-specific uses and are subject to certain limits and requirements.

The Cognizable Offence of Copyright Infringement

India’s Copyright Act of 1957 defines copyright violation as a cognizable crime. A cognizable crime is one for which a First Information Report may be filed by the police without a court’s order. Under Section 63 of the Act, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that copyright infringement is a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

Penalties for violating copyrights might reach two lakh rupees and three years in prison. Assume the infringement was not done in trade or commerce for financial gain. The court may penalise someone by less than fifty thousand rupees or sentence them to less than six months in prison for good and specific grounds.

Civil Remedies for Infringement of Copyright

Indian legal choices for copyright violation consist of the following:

  • Injunctions: Interlocutory or final injunctions to stop or restrain current or future violations. Wherever there is a prima facie case, a balance of ease and permanent harm, courts issue injunctions.
  • Damages: Damages include earnings as well as real and statutory damages. Damages to the copyright owner plus wages to the offender are given real damages.
  • Accounts of Profits: The infringer’s profits are the total amount of money made by their illegal action, and the copyright owner is entitled to an account of those earnings.

Notable Copyright Infringement Cases in India

  • In the Yash Raj Films v. Sri Sai Ganesh Productions case, Yash Raj Films said that the idea, story, plot, characters, and expression of the film Band Baaja Baaraat had been plagiarised in Sri Sai Ganesh Productions’ “Jabardasht.” The court found that the plaintiff’s film included basic, vital, and unique elements that the offenders had openly copied.
  • In Hawkins Cooker Ltd. v. Magicook Appliances, the company claimed that Magicook Appliances had used its registered name without permission on its pressure cooker line. Hawkins Cooker Ltd. won its case, and the court banned Magicook Appliances from using the Hawkins Cooker Ltd. name.
  • In their case against YouTube, Super Cassettes Industries Limited (SCIL) claimed that the illegal abuse of SCIL’s copyrighted material formed the base of YouTube’s business plan. The court decided that Google and YouTube must stop sharing, copying, showing, or sending any audiovisual works that are only owned by SCIL on their platforms.

Copyright Infringement Exceptions and Limitations

Limited use of protected information without the owner’s permission is possible under limitations and limits to copyright abuse. These exceptions are meant to ensure that copyright rules do not overly limit public rights. Prominent cases consist of:

  • Fair Use Exceptions: Permit limited unapproved uses of protected works for teaching, research, criticism, and news reporting. Fairness is determined by four factors: the user’s goal, the kind of work, the amount of work utilised, and the effect on the original work.
  • Private Use Exceptions: Allow people to publish works for their own, non-commercial use, such as listening to a song quietly.
  • Educational Use Exceptions: Permit educational groups to use protected works for teaching reasons, including using a guide in the classroom.

Because of these circumstances, copyright rules do not overly limit the public’s access to information and creative works, helping to balance the rights of users and artists.

Copyright Registration: How to Do It and the Advantages


  • Application Submission: Accurately finish the application, include the appropriate papers, and send in the application fee.
  • Issue of a Diary Number: A notebook number is given out for keeping and future reference upon filing.
  • Objection Handling: Answer any questions the examiner may have.
  • Certificate of Registration: A qualified represents safety and legal acceptance after it has been given.


  • Public Record: Creates a public record of the copyright claim.
  • Legal Protection: Permits filing of an infringement case or loss recovery.
  • Statutory losses: Qualification for statutory losses and attorney’s fees.
  • Deterrent to False Claims: Stops others from saying they are the real owner of the copyright.
  • Injunction: In a case of infringement, this might be necessary before a court gives certain measures, like an order.

Application: Function of Indian Copyright Societies

  • Copyright Societies: Groups that oversee and uphold copyright rights on behalf of creators.
  • Role: Protecting writers’ rights through legal help, copyright law pushing, and tracking and settling infringement.

Managing Copyright Disputes in Litigation

  • Navigating Disputes: Successful dispute settlement depends on understanding copyright rules and methods.
  • Legal help: Consulting an attorney can assist you in settling tough legal issues and guarantee fair pay for the violation.

Creators must register a copyright to protect their work. Along with other benefits, it creates a public record and provides legal security. It can be easier to ensure that one’s work is completely covered by the law if one is aware of the role of copyright societies and how to handle disputes.


Creative, innovative, and societal growth cannot occur without respecting copyright. Inhibiting violation is mostly the job of writers, users, and officials. Intellectual property rights must be protected by creators, and users must respect these rights by getting the needed licences and permits. To prevent piracy, officials must properly enforce copyright laws. With the Indian government aggressively handling copyright infringement cases and strengthening legislative frameworks to defend creators’ rights, the future chances for copyright protection are good.

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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.