• Shoronya Banerjee

Infringing A Copyright

Essentially when talking of intellectual property rights, copyright signifies the author or creator formulating original work, being rendered with the exclusive right of reproducing and distributing their copyrighted work. The fundamental notion behind this stands to be that, the owner of the work should get all the opportunities of reaping benefits out of his/her work without others arbitrarily causing obstacles in between.

Significantly throwing light upon the term 'exclusive rights,' Section 51 read with Section 14(a) of the Copyright Act, 1957 clearly indicates towards, if an individual without authorisation goes ahead to utilise someone else's work for trade or to an extent, affect the owner of the copyright prejudicially or to in turn reproduce the work in any material form which also includes the aspect of storing it via an electronic medium, that would mean the infringing of copyright work.

Therefore when talking about copyright infringement, the aspect of copying holds quite a bit of importance. Copying can be done in ways of direct copying, indirect copying, and subconscious copying. Through the case of Mishra Bandhu Karyalaya v. Shivratanlal Koshal, it was held that 'copy' suggests something that would be close enough to the original product and henceforth, could also be mistaken for the original one. Direct copying essentially associates with the defendant reproducing the plaintiff's work. Indirect copying, therefore, refers to the defendant copying the plaintiff's work in a different form. Thereafter, subconscious copying means where a person comes across a certain work, reads learns or hears about it, then after forgetting it, goes on to reproduce it by his/her name. This was seen in the case of Francis Day v. Bron. Infringement calls for the exact copying and reproduction of the plaintiff's work. A substantial part of it as well plays an essential role. In the case of Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. v. Hamar Television Network Pvt. Ltd., in consideration of a musical work, usage of a single note could infringe copyright if it forms the 'essential' part of the song.

Acts as per Section 51 (a), acts mentioned under it are referred to as primary acts of infringement. Acts under Section 51 (b) are therefore known as secondary acts. Talking of copyright existing in some work, in that regard registration is not necessary. But in turn of obtaining civil and criminal remedies in case of infringement requires the work to be registered. Then again, copyright in a work cannot be considered to be infringed, if someone obtains the basic idea from it and developed his/her work, as held in the case of Cherian P. Joseph v. Prabhakaran. It is acceptable that if one idea is manifested in different manners, the thing being acquired from the same source, similarities are bound to appear. On the other hand, literal copying would lead to infringement. When works have the same theme but treated differently, they are not considered to be violating the right. Amongst the several propositions by the Supreme Court in the case of R G Anand v. Delux films, these 2 are quite essential as well.


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