Copyright infringement and remedies

Copyright infringement and remedies

A Copyright can be defined as a legal right given to a person for creation of any literary or artistic work being created by him. This gives an exclusive right to the owner to use, perform. Publish or print any of his work or works according to his will.  The right can be given to the owner for a particular time period (varying from 50 to 100 years), during which no other person is allowed to use the copyrighted work without prior permission of the owner. In case any person tries to use the copyrighted work without the permission of the owner, it is termed as an act of copyright infringement

The terms piracy or theft are usually associated with copyright infringement. Piracy is often used as a synonym of copyright infringement among the people.  Piracy means the act of creating, distributing or selling a copy of the original work. Theft is also a word that is seen to be similar to copyright infringement. It does not signify taking away of an object from owner’s possession, but it refers to the theft of the exclusive rights of the owner, under the Copyright Laws. However, with passing of time a new phrase has emerged in the sphere of copyright infringement, Freebooting. It refers to unauthorized rehosting of online media, particularly videos.

Remedies for Copyright Infringement:

The remedy available for copyright infringement is usually civil in nature. The civil remedies available under Section 55 of the Copyright Act, 1957 are:

  • Pecuniary Damages: the owner can claim damages from the defendant in case of infringement. The amount of damages can be either, equal to the profit made by the defendant, the value of the article, or compensatory damages.
  • Interlocutory Injunction: the owner might also ask for interlocutory injunction. In such cases the owner has to prove that, if such injunction is not granted to him he will have to suffer irreparable damages.
  • Mareva Injunction: this comes into action when the Court believes that the defendant is trying to obstruct or delay the proceedings or execution of a decree passed against him.

Criminal Remedies include:

  • Imprisonment for a period of 6 months, which may extend up to 3 years
  • Fine of rupees 50,000 which may extend up to rupees 2,00,000
  • Search and seizure of infringing goods
  •  Delivery of infringing goods to the copyright owner

Exceptions in case of copyright infringement:
A person cannot be held liable for copyright infringement in the following cases:

  • Fair dealing with any copyrighted work for the following purposes:
    • Criticism or review
    • For research or education
    • For reporting current affairs or current news.
  • Certain specific activities mentioned in the statute.



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