Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Copyright Infringement


The Copyright Act, 1957 manifests two facets to its essence of prime establishment. One being the exclusion of others from gainfully exploiting a work with originality expressed by the owner in order to streamline the fruits of his labour to be attained by him without reasonable hindrances and the other being inclusion of public in this domain who derive certain rights in the form of permitted uses in the work, as mentioned in Section 52 of the Act. This dual dimension of objectivisation of the Act leads to notable exceptions to infringement too. Defences to validate or negate infringement are available to suit circumstantially and  according to the nature of the case.

From the utterance of the Act, it is evident that if a user of the work uses any of the exclusive rights as against the owner of the copyright, without the prior permission of the Registrar of Copyright, he shall be deemed to have infringed on the owner’s undivided interests. In a nutshell, infringement of copyright is an invasion into a private realm owned and occupied by the owner of the copyright.

Under the Copyright Act, 1957, the essence of Section 51 deliberates that a work is said to be infringed if an act is contravening the conditions of the license so granted or the act is disrupting the exclusive rights of the copyright holder or maliciously communicating the work to the public. The language of the law therefore leaves its interpreters with perspectives on the intricate understanding of infringement and definite exceptions to it through defences and judicious reasoning.

Copyright allows and disallows explicit acts of discovery. Philosophically, all versions are not photocopies. Value addition plays a very significant role in determining the uniqueness in the work. In essence, the world is all about building up or developing upon existent factors of life. But the line is drawn when the violation of non judicious use

creeps in. Thus, legally, the exceptions to copyright infringement exist to strike a balance between the interests of the copyright owner and the good of the society at large. These exceptions broadly are classified into common law and statutory exceptions.

Common law exceptions are perceived as denial of works whose sustenance affects or is contrary to the public interests. Statutory exceptions are more specific and explain the permissible uses of a copyrighted work under the title ‘permitted uses’ which is crafted in Section 52 of the Copyright Act.

Social standards and public interests are dynamic. In the due course of time, these ideals have remained non static and variant. Hence, the nature of copyright protection also has evolved alongside the divergence. It is significantly apparent in the emergence of exceptions to copyright infringement, while not to be looked thought the lens of evolution but the variety of cases and the pertinent circumstances.

It is essential to list the variety of situations that were prevalent in the categorisation into infringement and non infringement that eventually leads to strong legal defences against charges of copyright infringement. Permitted acts in relation to copyright include fair dealing of the work and face to face or virtual instruction based learning and enlightenment. These exceptions primarily emerged through the educators who were particular in propagating knowledge that was once discovered by scholars, in order to pass on the legacy of awareness, while fair dealing branched out another area called ‘parodising’ the work through satirical and metaphorical expressions to open the blind spots of the public, thus delimiting the copyright protection arena.

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