Copyright Infringement

Copyright is a branch of intellectual property rights that grants special rights to the copyright holder for protection of his/her work if any person or company copy work, done by another person without his/her consent, is called Copyright Infringement. The problem of copyright infringement has always been one of the more debating issues to solve in our society. copyrights law has been evolving throughout the years and has successfully adapted to the new technologies that have appeared the internet is arguably the largest single threat the copyrights law has faced since it was first introduced, the government has been trying time to time creating new laws for avoided the ambiguity of copyright infringements.


Intellectual property rights are legal rights granted to a person or company for his work that includes his invention of creative designs, literary work, symbols, or phrases for a limited duration of time. Copyright is one of the intellectual property rights. Copyright is the type of right which is given by law to the creator of artistic, musical-dramatic, literary, musical work and producer of cinematography films and sound recordings. Copyright law provides certain rights to the copyright holder for use of their property without disturbance and to prevent the misuse of their property such as the right to reproduce, distribute or perform protected work. Copyright ensures some minimum safeguard of this right of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity.

Purpose of Copyright  

  1. To protect the rights of inventors and creators to promote the progress of useful arts and science.
  2. To provide incentives and rewards to the creditors for producing original content and also induce creators to create an environment inclusive of more creativity. The creditor can be economically benefited by their copyrighted work and receive proper recognition.
  3. To encourage the inventor or creator to come up with developed new creative work. Creativity and progress go parallel line, therefore, no civil society can exist without copyright protection hence, the work of creator or inventor is protected.
  4. Strikes a balance between the rights of the owner as well as society.

Duration of Copyright

In the case of original artistic, literacy, dramatical, musical, the duration of copyrights period is the lifetime of the copyright holder/author or artist 60 counted from the year following the death of the author. And in the case of cinematography work, sounds recording and publication, work of government, and also works of an international organization are protected for 60 years which is counted from the year following the date of publication.  

Rights of the Copyrights holder

According to the Copyright Infringement, Act 1957 which talks about some types of the right which is granted to the owner.

  1. Reproduction – This right is the most important rights granted by the copyright act. This rights only grant in favor of copyright owners to make a copy of the protected work in any form. Like unauthorized act which is prohibited under this right included photocopying of book and copying a software program, using cartoon character on a t-shirt, and incorporating a part of another song into a new song.
  2.  Right to distribute – Distributive right is a type of right which grants in favor of the copyright holder. This right allows the copyright holder to prevent the distribution of unauthorized copies of work. Also, the copyright holder entitled to transfer the whole or some rights in favor while retaining others.
  3. Right to make derivative work – This right considered that one of the basic rights of the copyrights holder. So, when anyone has done such work then copyright holder consent should be required. And also, certain other rights come into the preview that right to integrity which protects the rights of copyrights holder defamation, defacement, or modification of his work in a way that is harmful for reputation.
  4. Right to public performance – the right to public performance considered that one of the basic rights granted under the Copyright Infringement Act 1950. This one protects the right to public performance copyright holder works. Like the copyright holder may perform dramas and concerts. This is come to preview of the right of the owner to broadcast his work or to make his work accessible to the public at general on the internet.  The terms and conditions decided by the copyright holder.

 Why needs Protection for Copyright

The basic idea behind the protection of copyright for creator taking advantage and works which he has created.Section 13 of the Copyrights Act, 1957 talks about protecting original work of creator work like literary, musical, cinematography, artistic, sound recording, and dramatic work.

  1. literary work includes novels, books, newspaper articles, journals, research papers, magazines, instructions material.
  2. musical work includes original music work and a specific combination of melody and harmony.
  3. artistic work includes painting, sculpture, diagrammatic representation, rowing.
  4. sound recordings include the lyricist who wrote the lyrics, the composer who set the music, the singer who sung the song, the musicians who performed the background music, and the individual entity or company who produced the sound recording.
  5. cinematography includes movies, tv shows, documentaries, television recording of events.
  6. dramatic work includes original combination comedy or drama work and a specific combination of the name of the show, the character of the show.

Registration of copyright

Section 48 of the Copyright Act, 1957 talks about registration of copyright. In India registration of copyright is not mandatory as the registration treated a mere recordal of fact. However, it is advisable to register the work for better protection; it will serve as proof in a matter of dispute.

Copyright Infringement

Use of any copyrighted work without the consent of the true owner to amount to copyright infringement. Copyright infringement occurs when an individual or company intentionally and unintentionally used it without their giving them credit. Section 51 of the Copyright Infringement Act 1957 describes copyright deemed to be infringed if, any person without the consent from the true owner and registrar of copyright copies, published, recording, perform films, dramatic work. And any individual or company sells or lets for hire, display, distributive, exhibits in public or import to India any infringing material come in the purview of Section 51 of the Copyright Act 1957.

In the case of R.G Anand v. Delux film[1], Justice Fazal Ali said that the infringement of copyrights is a trespass of a private domain owned and occupied by the owner of the copyright and protected by law.

Types of Infringements of Copyrights

There are two types of infringement available.

  1. The first one is manual and traditional infringement includes literary work, sound recordings, and cinematographic work.
  2.  The second one is electronic and non-electronic infringement includes internet and online infringement, software privacy.

Remedies available against copyright Infringement

Under the Copyright Act 1957, there are three types of remedies available against the individual and company that infringed on the copyright works.

  1. Civil remedies -Under Section 54 to 62 of the Copyright Infringement Act 1957 talk about two types of civil remedies.

(a) preventive civil remedies talk about prevention procedures to prevent the wrongdoer from copyright infringement.

(b) compensation remedies talk about the provide the compensation in the form of money to copy the right holder for the financial loss caused to him due to infringement of copyright.

2. Criminal remedies – Under Section 63 to 70 of the Copyright Infringement Act 1957, talk about the procedure of criminal remedies against any individual or company that infringed the copyright of the owner. Fine and punishment both available against the person who committed an offense under Section 63 to 70 of the Copyright Infringement Act 1957.

3.Administrative remedies – One of the last remedies available the copyright law is known as administrative remedies which are also known as quasi-judicial remedies.

Some landmark judgment regarding copyright infringement

In the case of Jitendra Prasad Singh v. the State of Assam[2], the court held that the infringement of copyright is a non- bailable offense.

In the case of B.K. Dani v. the State of M.P[3], the court observed that once it is so registered the copyright holder is deemed to acquire properly right in it. The right arising from the registration of the book can be the subject matter of both criminal and civil remedies. So that without the copyright holder can have no rights or not remedies through his work maybe the original one.

In the case of State Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Naresh Kumar Garg[4], the court relied the on the judicial decision of Guwahati High Court Judgment in Jitendra Prasad Singh v. the State of Assam, where the court held that Section 63 of The Copyright Act 1957 cognizable and non-bailable offense. The Hon’ble High Court observed that it would be very fruitful to refer the provisions of Section 64 of the Copyright Act 1950, which empowers a police officer not below the rank of Sub Inspector to seize the infringing material of any work. If the offense had been non- cognizable and bailable, there was no requirement to specifically authorized seizure power to the police officer. 

Further, the apex court resorted to the question in case of Andhra Pradesh v. Nagoti Venkataramana and was of opinion that it was essential for the prosecution to trace the owner of the copyright to came and adduce evidence of infringement right of first publication. Therefore, this observation confirms the actual position that the infringement of copyright is a cognizable offense, and also the police must show a great deal of tolerance in the collection of evidence.


In the end, I would like to say in the present time lot of fraud happens in form of coping innovative work of someone and also, talking benefits work done by another person without his/her consent. The purpose of copyright law to prevent such types of offense and protect the rights of a copyright holder. Copyrights law protects the musical, artistic, dramatic, literary, cometographic work that is done by the copyright holder. If someone copy works without the consent of the copyright holder, it considered amounts to copyrights infringements. If any individual entity or company infringes on the copyrighted work of someone then he/she will be liable for criminal as well as civil liabilities.   


  • Dr. B.L Wadehra, Law Relating to Intellectual Property, (Universal law, Allahabad, 2016, 5th end).
  • V.K Ahuja, Intellectual Property Rights in India, (LexisNexis, Gurgaon, 2015, 2nd edn).
  • N. S Sreenivasulu, Law Relating to Intellectual Property, (LexisNexis, Gurgaon, 2018, 2nd edn).

  • [1] AIR 1978 SC 1613
  • [2] (2004) 2 GLR 271
  • [3] 2005 CriLJ 876
  • [4] 2011 (46) PTC 114 (DEL)

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