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THE COPYRIGHT DILEMMA: PREVENTING INFORMATION INFRINGEMENT IN THE DIGITAL ERA

Author: Shraddha Jain, II year of B.Com.,LL.B. from Institute of Law, Nirma University


INTRODUCTION

In many aspects, Covid-19 has altered our way of life. One of them is our working style. Due to stay at home orders we are unable to step out of our homes even for work. But, all thanks to technology advancements, we may now work digitally from the comfort of our own homes. New possibilities have arisen as a result of technological improvements, but they have also brought with them new challenges and responsibilities. We are now compelled to rely on the internet for communication, work; commerce, education, and entertainment, more than ever before. This growing reliance escalates the need to discover solutions to numerous problems about copyright law and implications of the actions taken on the internet.


Since the growth of internet users across the world, protecting copyright owners' interests and enforcing their rights has grown more complex. Copyright law has been abandoned in the wake of the growth and rapid development of new technologies. The ease with which people may produce, consume, and transmit digital material clashes with the complicated regulations that govern it. The COVID-19 scenario is a wakeup call on many levels; it has emphasized the importance of copyright law, as well as the concerns and problems it faces in today's digital environment.


COPYRIGHT LAW BASICS

Meaning of Copyright

Copyright is a very evolving area of the law. Copyright law is a type of legal adaptation, a solution to emerging innovations throughout the creation and distribution of human creativity, or, rather specifically, to the societal, cultural, and commercial movements which these innovations have generated. Because the significance of creative representation rises, so will the regulatory framework that regulates the ownership laws. Within copyright act of federal law, products of minds are safeguarded.[i]


Writers' rights in the pieces of writing are referred to as copyright. The statement of a creator of the work is protected by copyright. Fundamental copyright protection is straightforward, effectively free, and covers the majority of the world. Even though the terms "copyrighting" and "acquiring copyrights" are frequently used, they are misinterpretations. Copyright protection in almost any unique authorship is automatically updated, without additional action, only at time when the work is fixed.


What is the origin of the copyright law?

The copyright rules were created by the United States Constitution. In its Article I, Section 8, Constitution mentions. "The state holds the right to assist the scientific and technological progress, study, the crafts, and technology by ensuring the exclusive ownership of the creator and artist to their own works and creations."

  • The Copyright Office of the government is in charge of maintaining and regulating the copyright law's management operations.

  • Copyright legislation is enacted by the parliament.

  • The copyright law is evaluated and administered by Supreme Court.


Copyright law in India

The Copyright Act of 1957 that was modified by the Copyright Law 1958 governs the statutory protection of copyright in our country India. In 2012, significant changes to the Copyright Law were made. Because our country has a common law system, it focuses on court rulings to understand and make rules in the legislation, thus court rulings add to India's copyright law resources. Our country has signed both the conventions that is the Berne Conventions and the Universal Copyright Convention. The International Copyright Order, 1999 was also enacted by the Indian state. Any item initially published in any nation that is a part of any one of the given protocols is treated the similar way as if it were first issued in India, as per this Rule.[ii]


Significance of copyright law

The law of copyright serves two purposes:

  • It was created to foster creativity and knowledge

  • It also provides creators with exclusive rights to secure his or her work for a particular time.


What types of work are safeguarded by copyright legislation in India?

  • Works of literature, poetry, music and drama.

  • Wildly gesticulating and choreographed performances

  • Works in the pictorial, graphical, and sculptural arts.

  • Audio clips

  • Films as well as other audiovisual works

  • Computer software.

  • Works’ compilations and derivative works

  • Projects in architecture.


When the copyright protection is granted to any work

The copyrighted work should be original, innovative and unique; nevertheless, it's not really required that it contain an original thinking or concept. The law is simply worried with the authenticity of the intellectual statement. When a creation is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, it will get copyright protection.


Exclusive rights of the copyright owner

  • To make a copy of the work.

  • To get the product available on the market.

  • To introduce the works that is derivative.

  • To showcase the piece in front of the public.

  • To use digital signals to broadcast copyrighted sound recordings in the community.

  • He has the authority to modify or amend the original work.


Duration of copyright

Creation of works after January 1, 1978 is generally preserved for the rest of the author's life plus 70 years. Whereas if creator is a corporate entity, then the protection lasts for less than 95 years from the date of publishing or 120 years from the date of formation. But before 1978, items made and publicized may indeed be copyrighted for varying periods of time.[iii]


Transferring a Copyright

Copyright ownership can be sold or transferred through a multidisciplinary approach at any point during its lifetime. In most cases, a transfer occurs under one of 4 categories:

  1. A sale transmitting part or maybe full ownership in exchange for a set sum of money.

  2. If the copyright holder dies with a legitimate will identifying a successor, then the ownership is reassigned. To that successor. In the absence of a will, statutes governing executor inheritance will prevail.

  3. A mortgage temporary transmits a copyright's ownership to any other person as collateral for loans.

  4. During a divorce, insolvency, or seizure, an unwanted transfer is generally compelled by law.[iv]


COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

Technology advancements have had a persistent influence on the operations of copyright rules. It has extended their range and source material. It is true that digital technology has improved the quality of digital files and enhanced the capacity to duplicate as well as spread the publications, but it has also compromised overall power of copyright holders to execute their copyrights in virtual worlds.


It is noteworthy that evolving technology have enabled the exceptional speeding in the distribution and replication of digital products with fast pace, authenticity, and also no reduction in quality. Nonetheless, digitization has facilitated the altering, merging, and manipulating of the same set of content quite simple, posing a significant danger to copyrighted works.


Everything will be accessible just at press of a button in digital world, enabling not just to extract data, as well as to store that and spread it exactly and even at a minimal price, expanding the illicit utilization copyright material.

Copying of a Disc and other recorded player containing copyrighted content without consent of the content writer is an illustration of copyright violation in the digital world, as is unauthorized uploads of pirated content and sharing of recorded music over the Web, mostly in the pattern of MP3 files.


Risks imposed by digital innovations to the copyright law

  • Convenience of Copying and Transmission of ‘Work' of Copyright Holders' is a great disadvantage

  • Creations can be easily changed, altered, amended, or influenced by individuals. It raised worries among creators and copyright holder about how their original concept will be maintained.

  • Storing provides a possible danger to copyrighted content because it is duplicated and recorded for future use, putting copyright owners' security at risk.

  • Linking and framing is a process when the attached information is copyrighted information and the copyright owner's approval has not even been acquired, therefore both linking and framing constitute issues to content owners of digital materials.

  • A further issue that poses a threat to the copyright law in the digital environment is managing the two opposing objectives of content owners on the one hand and the freedom to receive material on another.

  • Peer to peer networks contains PCs interconnected to one another through specialized application that enables one system to identify files/data on some other linked pc then download that to its system without the permission of mediator servers.

  • Cyberspace has really no physical address. It's everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Although the equipment, such as a broadband, Computer, wifi, and so forth, could be situated with one jurisdiction, the people who uses those services may be located in some other, as well as the impact may occur in a different jurisdiction. The cross-border activities of online technology are frequently in direct contradiction with one another.


Protection of Authors’ Rights in Digital Medium

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

The technology and management methods used by copyright owners to safeguard copyrighted content in the digital world are referred to as Digital Rights Management (DRM). This is essential to understand that DRM technique isn't used to execute copyright rules; instead, this is used to prevent unlawful accessibility to and use of restricted information on the internet. DRM is defined as "a method of tackling the characterization, recognition, trade, security, supervising, and recording of all types of copyright utilizations on tangible and intangible assets, especially administration of copyright owners' connections" in the more formal situations. Because DRM enables copyright holders to safeguard copyrighted materials on digital platforms in a legal context, it often results in consumers being denied access to that information or stuff. Copyright is currently a tactic used against individual end-users in an attempt to prohibit them against utilizing copyright information outside of the bounds established by the copyright owners.


Individuals that acquire web content must agree license restrictions in agreements of commitment that mostly include 10-30 pages or even more, reduce their ability to use the information, which can include cancellations of limitations including just usage, procedural fairness, or private copying.


Authors' Moral Obligations in the Digital era

The non-economic and interpersonal privileges connected with a protected content are known as ethical rights or of writers. The copyright law protects those privileges since it is thought that the copyrighted content represents the writer's real character, which should have been protected. In this case, moral obligations comprise the following:

a) Paternity rights (i.e., the writer's rights to demand authorship of the product); b) Authenticity of its "research" against misrepresentation, excision, and alteration;

c) Permission to remove;

d) Claim over allegations;

e) Rights of distribution;

f) Rights to respond to comments; and so on.


Protection of Digital Copyright

The basic foundation of the copyrights has indeed been attacked upon this law with the introduction of digital innovations and the web. With the introduction of the printed word, or even technological changes, a need to provide proper security to creators' rights on their compositions evolved. Since then, copyright act has gone through a remarkable path of systematic security to creators' rights while addressing the problems offered by new technology. This generation has seen such rapid advancements in technological innovations that it can fairly be referred to this as the ‘digital world,' simplifying formerly difficult chores, enhancing livelihoods but also offering new difficulties. Copyright legislations have been reorganized many times since the creation of the printing press, TV, broadcasting, computer software, musical work, radios and space transmissions, as well as the Internet.[v]


THE IMPORTANCE OF COPYRIGHT LAW ON THE WEB

Originally, copyright only applied to creations that were written and sold. Because the World Wide Web has altered the manner in which the individuals get and publish the content, it makes critical to understand how copyright policy impact Web usage. Organizations which are established mostly on Web or which utilize the web to promote and publish data must be conscious about not only how to prevent copyright violations, as well as the safeguards which copyright laws provide to website owners.


The goal of this study is to examine the importance of copyright in the field of online interactions. The two poles of copyrights, which safeguard writers on the one side while preventing the happening of the author's dominance on another, must be considered. Simultaneously, one should consider the legitimacy of the copyright concept as well as how it is viewed and implemented by users of the online society. The study proposes the notion as to why the copyrights' bi-polarity corresponds to the requirements of the digital world, but the legal copyright organization lacks the legitimacy that the organization of copyrights to actual goods does. The validity of this kind of proposition implies how intangible asset ownership is treated less harshly in digital world than physical asset ownership. As a result, in today's internet world, there is a contradiction between the legal copyrights organization and the unofficial rules governing data flow (which takes the form of digital information goods).[vi]


Protecting Against Infringement

The most straightforward solution to stop infringement on someone else's or a company's rights is to receive approval for using something that is not yours. Illegal downloading can occur even when an artist's photo is used on a personal website. If you're worried regarding your rights being violated, use watermark information and submit content in difficult-to-copyright formats. Although there is no 100% assurance against piracy, licensing your copyrights as well as clearly showing a rights sign will help deter will indeed pirates.


Fair Use

For social and academic reasons, the "Fair Usage Doctrine" allows an exception to copyright rules. Proper usage allows limited extracts of publications to be used in essays, analyses, as well as other social utilities. Copyrighted works are often safeguarded in copies. There seems to be no legal criterion for what constitutes a permitted snippet, and reasonable usage principles are vague. While deciding if a breach has occurred or not, judge looked just at intention of using protected content, the financial impact on the copyright owner, the extent to which an article was extracted, as well as the composition of the protected content.


Downloads that are illegal

Plenty of revenue has been lost due to illegal downloading by artists, writers, as well as other innovative professions. Without any of the specific authorization of the copyright holders, it is unlawful to obtain or publish copyrighted content like publications, music, or films. Several people have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for unlawful downloading.[vii]


COPYRIGHT ISSUES AND VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Some of the current issues regarding online education and copyright law are as follows:

Is virtual teaching covered by the educational fair use provisions?

The scope of section 52(1) (i) include not just classroom instruction but also the full process or programme of education in a semester, which includes online education. In any event, because the shift in medium was imposed upon us owing to the pandemic, online lessons would be covered under classroom education.


Do video recorded classes that use copyrighted material protected in the same way as physical classes are protected?

  • Publication,' according to section 3 of the Copyright Act, is making a work publicly available through copies or by transmitting the work to the public. Uploading teaching videos to YouTube and other similar platforms and making them freely accessible would be considered publication under this concept, and would be subject to section 52(1) (h), which restricts the use of copyrighted works in such publications to two short passages from the work (unlike section 52(1) (i), which does not specify a limit on the amount of material reproduced).

  • While this restriction may be more difficult to enforce, exceptions to fines can be justified for in certain instances. While certain services, such as YouTube, provide Fair Use Protection, anybody may file a copyright takedown notice. There's a good risk this will discourage educators from adopting the platform, which is maybe more user-friendly than others.

  • While obtaining authorization from the copyright owner or seeking licensing is a possibility, both are time-consuming processes that may not be viable at this time. Some strategies to get around this include uploading lecture videos designated as "unlisted" so that they don't appear on YouTube's public sites, or swapping copyrighted content with open access materials for recorded lectures.


Will university libraries be protected if they upload a digital duplicate of a physical library's textbooks to the digital library?

Section 52(1) (n), added by the 2012 Copyright Amendment Act, allows a "non-commercial public library" to hold a digital copy of works for which it already has a physical copy for the purpose of preservation. While this enables for the storing of a digital copy, it leaves unresolved the question of whether or not that copy may be distributed or communicated. Is it implied, at least in instances when the physical copy is destroyed or otherwise inaccessible (such as during a blockade)? If that's the case, what's the point of this clause? Furthermore, the Copyright Act uses different phrases like ‘library,' ‘non-commercial library,' and ‘non-profit library,' which adds to the uncertainty over whether university libraries are protected or not.[viii]


TEACH Act

The TEACH Act, which is included in Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act, broadens instructors' rights to perform and exhibit works for online distance education. The TEACH Act, on the other hand, prohibits the use of copyrightable works created specifically for online use, textbook materials purchased or acquired by students for use in the classroom, electronic reserve materials, electronic or paper course packs, interlibrary loan materials, or content provided under licence from the rights holder. Furthermore, the TEACH Act permits the digitization of works only where a digital version is unavailable or technologically protected, and only if the converted content is utilised for permitted transmissions.[ix]


RECENT CASES RELATING TO DIGITAL COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

UTV Software Communication Ltd v/s 1337x and Ors on 10th April 2019-Delhi HC

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in this case, which includes UTV Software Communication Ltd, are firms that create, produce, and distribute cinematographic films all over the world, including in India. 30 websites, including several John Doe websites, the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, the Department of Telecom, and other ISPs were named as defendants. The plaintiff claimed that defendants' websites displayed and offered access to their copyrighted work, resulting in violation of the plaintiff's copyright.


Issues

  • Should a copyright offender on the Internet be handled differently from a copyright offender in the real world?

  • Is it true that requesting the blocking of a piracy-related website makes one a defender of a free and open internet?[x]

Judgement

  • The Court found that there is no distinction between an offender in the physical world and one in the online world, and that the Copyright law does not provide such a difference.

  • The Court decided that copyright protection is a fair limit on internet freedom. They said that imposing reasonable restrictions on access to content is not incompatible with internet freedom.[xi]


JagranPrakashan Limited vs. Telegram FZ LLC &Ors.

Facts of the Case

  • The plaintiff (JagranPrakashan Limited) is the publisher of DainikJagran, a renowned Hindi daily that is distributed in both print and digital formats throughout India.

  • On the official website of Jagran, the digital newspaper is available for free or for a price through a premium membership.

  • Defendant No. 1 (Telegram FZ LLC) is a Dubai-based IP service provider that provides its customers with free text messenger and voice over IP services on a range of operating systems. Because of the application's unique function of keeping anonymity while constructing a channel, multiple anonymous users (collectively known as Defendant No. 2) distributed the Plaintiff's e-paper in PDF form without permission, resulting in trademark and copyright infringement in the e-paper.

Judgement

  • The Plaintiff was granted an ad-interim injunction under Order 39 Rule 1 & 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.; and

  • Defendant No. 1 was ordered to reveal the basic subscriber information/identity of the users/owners of the aforementioned channels within 48 hours, as well as to ban them.[xii]


CONCLUSION

Although digitization has provided artist with more options to successfully display his or her work and inventions, this has also generated issues regarding violation of holders' right. Unfortunately, despite various attempts at both the regional and global level to remove hurdles and assure the security of copyright in the digital domain, there is still much more work to be done. At the state level, public attention must be raised, law enforcement officers must be trained, plus adequate measures to avoid violation must be developed. At the global arena, it is really necessary to make sure that the terms and concepts codified in international treaties and international conventions are followed in order to maintain productive copyrights administration within the digital era.

By concluding our research paper, we might practically say that most of the nations had already amended their existing copyright legislation to safeguard computer databases, computer's software/programs, as well as the web. Several nations, on the other hand, are still yet to change their existing copyright rules to safeguard computer data collections, computer's software/programs, and also the web.


Holders of software programs, networks, information and the web have also been given the same broad rights as holders of copyrighted written texts, creative content, theatrical performances, cinematograph films, and so forth. Because the Website's characteristics have surpassed the legislation, the debate emerges about whether Copyrights is threatened by technological advancements and whether it is still relevant in the digital age or not. The existing Copyright regulations certainly give surety to Copyright holders, but they are having various limitations. Several critics have asked for the feasibility of enforcing Copyright laws on them. Its Web's transnational characteristics that demand better supportive relationships with several other jurisdictions as well as tight collaboration with global organizations as well. To prohibit any unlawful usage, community should be made aware about the importance of Copyright protection.

[i] Craig Joyce, Marshall Leaffer, et.al., “Copyright law” 6, Journal of Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press (2016) [ii] Basics of Copyright Law, available at:https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a2e04dab-9a76-4e69-97d6-8016e79c05b7(last visited on December 29, 2021) [iii] Copyright Basics, available at: https://www.lib.purdue.edu/uco/CopyrightBasics/basics(last visited on December 29, 2021) [iv]The Fundamentals of Copyright Law, available at:https://www.mightyrecruiter.com/recruiter-guide/the-fundamentals-of-copyright-law/ (last visited on December 29, 2021) [v]AlankritaMathur,“A Reflection upon the Digital Copyright Laws in India”, 25, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights,2020 [vi]Importance of copyrights in online society, available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324035970_Importance_of_copyrights_in_online_society (last visited on December 30, 2021) [vii] What Is the Importance of Copyright Laws on the Web, available at:https://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-copyright-laws-web-57441.html (last visited on December31, 2021 ) [viii]CovEducation, Copyright and Fair Use in India, available at,https://spicyip.com/2020/04/coveducation-and-copyright.html, (last visited on December29, 2021) [ix]Using Without Asking: Applying Copyright Law to Online Educational Course Materials, available at: http://dunnerlaw.com/using-without-asking-applying-copyright-law-to-online-educational-course-materials/(last visited on December28,2021) [x]Copyright in Digital Era, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/copyright-digital-era/#:~:text=Software,-Computer%20Software%20consists&text=Software%20piracy%20is%20one%20of,copying%2C%20distributing%20of%20copyrighted%20software(last visited on December29,2021) [xi]Dynamic injunction against ‘rogue websites’ in UTV case- Balanced remedy or excessive enforcement? available at:https://www.lakshmisri.com/insights/articles/dynamic-injunction-against-rogue-websites-in-utv-case-balanced-remedy-or-excessive-enforcement/ [xii]Unauthorized Circulation Of PDFs Of E-Papers: DainikJagran Case, available at:https://www.mondaq.com/india/trademark/956584/unauthorized-circulation-of-pdfs-of-e-papers-dainik-jagran-case (last visited on December29,2021)