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Understanding Copyright Infringement in India


Copyright infringement is a significant concern for creators and intellectual property holders in India. Section 51 of the Copyright Act outlines the circumstances in which copyright is deemed to be infringed. To protect your intellectual property, it’s crucial to understand the types of copyright infringement and relevant case laws. In this article, we will delve deeper into this subject, offering a comprehensive guide to copyright infringement in India.

Section 51 of the Copyright Act:

According to Section 51 of the Copyright Act, copyright is infringed if:
  1. A person conducts any act exclusively authorized by the copyright holder without obtaining their permission.
  2. A person allows their property to be used for communication, selling, distribution, or exhibition of an infringing work, unless they were unaware or had no reason to believe that such usage would infringe copyright.

Documents Required to File Copyright Infringement:

When filing a copyright infringement case, you need specific documents to support your claim. These include:
  1. A copy of the original copyrighted work.
  2. Proof of ownership or authorship of the copyrighted work.
  3. Evidence of alleged infringement, such as copies of the infringing work or website links.
  4. A cease and desist letter or DMCA takedown notice sent to the infringing party.
  5. Any correspondence or communication with the infringing party, including emails or letters.
  6. Witness statements or affidavits from individuals with knowledge of the infringement.
  7. Any contracts or agreements related to the copyrighted work, such as licensing or distribution agreements.
  8. Relevant copyright registration certificates or applications.
  9. Documentation of any damages or financial losses incurred due to the infringement, such as sales reports or financial statements.

Types of Copyright Infringement in India:

  1. Direct Infringement: This occurs when someone copies or reproduces a copyrighted work without permission from the owner.
  2. Indirect Infringement: This happens when someone contributes to or facilitates copyright infringement, such as providing equipment or services enabling the copying or distribution of copyrighted material.
  3. Secondary Infringement: This refers to the unauthorized sale or distribution of copyrighted works by someone other than the copyright owner.
  4. Plagiarism: Plagiarism occurs when someone presents someone else’s work as their own without giving proper credit or permission.
  5. Piracy: This involves the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted material, such as music, movies, or software.
  6. Infringement on Moral Rights: This refers to the violation of non-economic rights of the copyright owner, such as the right to be recognized as the author of a work or the right to prevent any distortion or mutilation of a work.

Case Laws Related to Copyrights:

Here are a few notable case laws related to copyright infringement in India:
  1. Hawkins Cooker Ltd. vs Magicook Appliances (2002):
    • Facts: Hawkins Cooker Ltd claimed that Magicook Appliances infringed on their registered trademark under the Copyright Act of 1957.
    • Court’s Decision: The court ruled in favor of Hawkins Cooker Ltd, prohibiting Magicook Appliances from using the infringing label and ordering compensation.
  2. Super Cassettes Industries Limited vs Google and YouTube (2004):
    • Facts: Super Cassettes Industries Limited alleged that YouTube profited from the unauthorized use of copyrighted content.
    • Court’s Decision: The court ruled that YouTube and Google must cease distributing copyrighted content exclusively owned by SCIL on their platform.
  3. Ratna Sagar (P) Ltd. V. Trisea Publications & Ors (1996):
    • Facts: Ratna Sagar (P) Ltd. filed a copyright infringement claim against Trisea Publications & Ors. for alleged plagiarism.
    • Court’s Decision: The court found the respondent guilty of copyright infringement and issued a perpetual injunction.
  4. Star India (P) Ltd. V. Piyush Agarwal & Ors (2012):
    • Facts: Star India Pvt. Ltd. claimed exclusive rights over information pertaining to cricket matches.
    • Court’s Decision: The court laid specific guidelines for the use of original audio and visual recordings but allowed the use of information in the public domain.

Understanding copyright infringement and the legal precedents in India is essential for creators and intellectual property owners to protect their work and seek legal recourse when copyright violations occur.

G.Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons)

G Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons) is a registered trademark attorney with extensive experience as an Advocate for a period of 8 years. She possesses expertise in trademark law, including trademark filing and trademark hearings. Additionally, she is skilled in contract drafting and reviewing, providing legal advice and opinions, particularly in the areas of Company Law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and Goods and Service Tax Law (GST). Her experience encompasses both litigation and non-litigation aspects of these laws.