Copyright litigation: An Overview

Copyright infringement is dependent on the scope and direction for the proliferation of a particular copyright registered work. The suits can be initiated before a district court, by submitting a petition written in English following certain terms and conditions.

What are the principal sources of law and regulating copyright litigation?

The following are the principal sources of law regulating copyright litigation in India:

  • Statute : The primary source administering copyright law in India is the Copyright Act 1957. The Copyright Rules create exhaustive management that determines critical terms, monitor categories of transactions incorporated by copyright, and implement improvements in cases where the copyright in work is violated.

  • Judicial precedent : Courts have added broadly to the evolution of copyright law. Since judgments of high courts with jurisdictions - original, appellate, and writ are inflicting on lower courts in their suitable jurisdictions, they create a very strong reference of Indian jurisprudence.

  • International law : International treaties and conventions help build statutes. Where a treaty is ratified into national law, it is obligatory. India has engaged in several treaties and conventions correlating to copyright that combine the prerequisites of these reports into its statutory domestic law. Where the treaties are not forming any part of domestic law, they still affect and help courts understand grey areas of national law. 

Which court hears the copyright litigation?

Anybody can initiate copyright infringement suits before a district court of either of the jurisdictions:

  • where the claimant resides
  • Where the claimant carries on their business.
  • Where the claimant personally works for gain.

The petition can be filed in the local language or English. Foreign judgments are not binding but are effective. The foreign decision is considered when the facts and events are relatable to the case in India.

When analysing foreign judgments, courts must implement them in connection with Indian laws, the legal system, and the pragmatic realities of copyright litigation in India.

How is a copyright violation assessed?

Copyright infringement is dependent on the scope and direction for the proliferation of a particular copyright registered work.

Courts apply the three checkpoints to determine the admissibility of the copyright infringement petition:

  • If there was actual access to work claimed to have been copied by the alleged infringer.
  • Suppose there is an actual similarity between the violating copy and the claimant's work. The court uses the test of "substantial similarity" to evaluate the degree of reproduction by the infringing entity. If the scope of the reproduction is negligible, no question of violation rises.
  • If there is a support of "independent creation", then an explanation or for how the alleged infringer produced the work in record time is required to determine it.

Can someone initiate copyright litigation if the copyright is not formally registered?

In India, copyright litigation can be initiated even if the work is not formally registered under the Copyright Act 1957. The author of the original work has the choice to seek certification of copyright under section 45(2) of the Act.

Copyright is granted to the original work from the second of its creation. However, there are some benefits of filing copyright in an original work. Therefore, the capacity to implement copyright and initiate a suit for violation and damages has no stance on copyright registration.

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