Copyright Infringement

In an era of fame and success where every man inserts his best of calibre to implement his ideas into an asset to differentiate his work from the rest, it becomes necessary to recognise and protect this intellectual creativity of the creator from being stolen by the other. This intellectual creativity of a person in terms of music, literary, names, designs etc are intellectual property of a person which is protected by law. Intellectual property Rights are the legally recognised exclusive rights to the creation of mind of a person which enable him to buy, sell, exchange or make any use of his intangible property. Common types of intellectual property are patents, copyright, trademark and industrial designs.

Copyright is a unique kind of intellectual property, according to Oxford English Dictionary “Copyright is an exclusive right given by law for a certain term of years to an author, composer, etc. (or his assignee) to print, publish and sell copies of his original work.” Thus, copyright is a right of an author, artist, or composer to stop others from exploiting the work without consent or assent of the owner of the copyright. There is no copyright in an idea; the object of copyright of copyright is to protect the work which is the result of the effort made to give a physical shape to an idea.

One of the essential requirements in a copyright is originality of the final product which is the result of implementation of ideas. The word “original” does not mean that the word must be the expression of original or inventive thought. Since there is no copyright in ideas or information, it is no infringement of copyright to adopt ideas of another or to publish information derived from another, provided that such publication or execution of ideas of another must be the original work of the owner of copyright in terms of language, style and the manner in which such information has been embodied. The question is not whether the material which are used are entirely new and had never been used before or even that they have never been used before for the purpose, but the true question is whether the same plan, arrangement and combination of materials have been used before for the same purpose or for any other purpose. If they have not, then the person is entitled to a copyright, even if he may have gathered hints for his plan and arrangement or parts of his plan and arrangement from existing and known sources.

Copyrights are the rights conferred on the owner to enable him to reap monetary benefits by way of selling, licensing, assigning, reproducing or exchanging his creation with public or to another person, when any of these acts of the owner of copyright is carried out by a person other than the owner of the copyright without his permission, it constitutes infringement of the copyright. Thus, copyright infringement is the violation, piracy or theft of the copyright holder’s exclusive right by an unauthorised person, without the consent or knowledge of the owner. Copyright Infringement is also known as Infringement of Copyright. Copyright is granted for a specified period of time. After the expiration of copyright period the work falls in the ‘ public domain’ and any act of reproduction of the work by any person other than the author would not amount to infringement. Copyright infringement differs from country to country, with different forms of recourse and different methods of protection. In India copyright infringement is dealt under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

Since there are different forms of creative works i.e. literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, etc. the acts which would constitute infringement would depend on the nature of the work. Music and movies are two of the most well known forms of entertainment that suffer from significant amounts of copyright infringement.  Infringement can be classified into two categories, primary infringement and secondary infringement. Primary infringement includes the actual act of copying; in this case the infringer may or may not have the knowledge of infringement, while Secondary infringement includes unauthorised dealings like selling the pirated books, importing etc. the infringer has the knowledge about the fact that he is infringing the right of another. To sum up, the acts which amount to infringement of copyright are selling, distributing, exhibiting in public by way of trade, importing without the permission of the owner, or any other right the exclusive right to do which is with the owner of copyright amounts to infringement of copyright. 

There are certain acts which wouldn’t amount to infringement of copyright such as use of copyrighted work for research, study, criticism, review and news reporting in a library, schools and legislation. Such uses of copyrighted work are permitted without the need to obtain permission from the copyright owner. In order to decide whether an act amounts to infringement or not, there are certain factors which are taken into consideration such as; whether copying has a casual connection, intended or not. Casual connection can be found by noticing whether the infringer had any motive to earn monetary gains by the work of the author. In order to determine whether an act amounts to infringement or not, it is also required to consider the extent to which person has made alterations of the original work, the manner and nature in which person has attempted to take advantage of the owners work.

Copyright is a monopoly right that restrains the others from exercising that right which has been conferred on the owner of the copyright by law. On infringement of such rights a person can take various judicial actions such as by approaching civil court or criminal court, copyright disputes can also be solved by way of negotiation or arbitration. Thus the basic objective of the Copyright laws is to encourage authors, composers and artists to create original works by rewarding them with exclusive rights for a specified period.

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