Enforcement of Copyright

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Enforcement of Copyright

Enforcement of Copyright

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 provides both civil and criminal remedies against the infringement of the copyright. Section 55 of the Indian Copyright Act 1957, provides civil remedies to a copyright owner in the form of injunction, damages and accounts. A civil suit for infringement of a copyright can be filed in the District Court in the appropriate jurisdiction; including where a plaintiff resides.

Criminal Remedy

Criminal remedies are also provided to a copyright owner in cases of an infringement of the copyright. Section 63-70 deals with the criminal penalties provided under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. The criminal penalties can be in form of imprisonment (which could be extended upto 3 years) and fine. A suit for infringement can be tried in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate and Judicial Magistrate by following code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Section 64 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 deals with the powers of the police to seize infringing copies. If a police officer, not below the rank of sub-inspector, is satisfied that an offence of infringement is being or likely to be committed, then he can seize all the infringing copies without any warrant. Earlier police acted only when the matter had come in the notice of a Magistrate. As per the new provisions, under Section 64, a police officer is expected to act based on some material or knowledge and not arbitrarily. Further, in 2011 Delhi High Court had struck down a notice issued by the Commissioner of Police, instructing all the subordinates to attend and provide assistance to three companies in the matter of complaints of violation of the Copyright Act, 1957. The three companies were Phonographic Performance Ltd., Super Cassettes Industries Limited and Indian Performance Right Society Ltd. It was held by Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court that, the police should not act differently on knowing who the complainant is. Further, he also stated that simply based on the information about the infringement or on complaint of the owner, police should not directly take the action of seizure of goods. The police officer prima facie has to be satisfied that, there is an infringement of the copyright before seizure of goods under section 64 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

In civil suits, there are certain provisions made by the courts, to expand the power of investigating agencies. The two orders : Anton Piller order and John Doe order are crafted by High courts specially to deal with copyright related investigations.

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