In the 21st century, almost every individual has access to the internet. It has become a vital source of information and entertainment. But due to this ease of access and poor vigilance, online content is prone to infringement and piracy. So how can IPR help to fight the menace of online piracy and secure the rights of original creators? Let’s get into the details.
There are usually three types of seekers who look out for the content on the internet namely:
· The Hardcore Fans: Generally, they are admirers of the work of the creator, and can access the material in a fair way at all costs.
· The Pirate Pigeons: They cannot afford to buy a legal copy or subscribe to the authentic source of the producer’s work.
· The Easy Goers: These are the people who are willing to buy the product or pirate it depending upon the availability and price of the product.
Copyright is a type of licensed innovation assurance allowed under Indian law to the owners of unique works of origin, for example, literary, emotional, melodic and imaginative works, cinematographic movies and sound accounts. Copyright law protects the expression of thoughts instead of thoughts themselves. Under section 13 of the Copyright Act 1957, copyright security is given on abstract works, emotional works, melodic works, imaginative works, cinematograph movies and sound chronicle.
Piracy has not only affected the profit of the rightful owners but it has affected the economy as well. The increasing issue of piracy has been of great concern to the Indian Government and it is trying to overcome the issue. The technological challenge that is witnessed has been taken into account by the Government of India (GOI) and various departments working under it. Both at legislative and administrative levels steps have been taken to tackle the problem of privacy. The nature and extent of piracy problems extend across various fields of work which are discussed below.
Literary Works: Piracy of literary work implies unlawful creation of books and other pieces of literature and selling them for benefit. Sometimes, when a book is borrowed from the library, it is photocopied to be further used by others. Copyright permits the photocopying of work, but only for limited use. But if the entire book is photocopied including the cover pages and then sold at cheaper cost, it leads to a loss of revenue for the writer. The books are also pirated through selling of books which are meant for review.These books are sent to India by some foreign authors, for the purpose of reviewing but somehow end up with wrongful act doers who print the copies and sell them at higher prices.Piracy in the education sector has also widened. In May 2019 as many as 30,000 pirated copies of NCERT books were seized by the Delhi Police.
Audio Recordings: Sound Piracy in India is as old as the tape business itself. Govt. strategy put music industry in the limited scope class and volume of a record organization's tape creation was confined to 300,000 units per annum. This prompted a wide hole in the interest- supply front leading to piracy. The music industry is estimated to lose around ₹22,000 crore and around 60,000 jobs every year because of piracy.
Computer Software: Pirating a computer software is comparatively an easy task, however, it is not impossible to detect the pirated copies. The original publishers often supply their products with labels denoting the manufacturer’s name, full product name, registration number etc. whereas in pirated versions none of them is available and they are easily spotted on black-disks. A couple of years ago, a civil case was filed by Trimble Solutions Company along with its subsidiary, Trimble Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. for copyright infringement against an engineering and design company based in Ahmedabad that used Tekla Structures software without sufficient licenses for its engineering projects and other commercial activities.A judgment was passed against the defendants by the District and Sessions Court of Mirzapur in Ahmedabad and awarded Rs. 58,75,000 to Trimble, which includes both the legal costs and the compensation for the loss of income due to illegal versions.
The software industry suffers a major loss of revenue due to the piracy issues and the advent of more advanced technology has made the issue even worse. As the world becomes more and more digital, the usage of software has increased. Hence, the people who cannot afford to buy origin copies usually seek for the pirated ones. As per survey, in India about 60% of the population uses pirated software. This points towards a serious concern.
Battling piracy internationally:
In the world of online platforms, content is the new currency. Hence, countries around the world have tried to take stringent steps towards fighting the menace of piracy and keeping the rights of original creators secure. Some of them are as follows.
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: 40 countries along with USA came together to enter into an agreement to provide protection against piracy and counterfeiting. Countries like Japan, Mexico, Canada and the European Union into an agreement with the producers to spread awareness about piracy and infringement of copyright. By the help of the agreement, the officers will be able to seize any material goods which are pirated with a formal court order.
Brazil’s PIRATES OUT Campaign: It is aninitiative brought forward by National Union of Federal Revenue Agents (SINDIRECEITA). It aims to create awareness about the pirated content and promote IP culture in Brazil
OECD-EUIPO report: The launch of the report in the European Union on Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods have triggered the need of creating awareness about the benefits of IPR. It provided technical and operational support to the law enforcement agencies. It also facilitates investigations and monitors the emerging crime trends. Further, it also operates as a platform to create awareness about the need of IPR rights.
Improving piracy in India
The cases of piracy have reached an alarming level in India. There is an urgent need to raise awareness and take strong measures against the wrongdoers involved in the act of piracy. For a kick start, campaigns could be launched through social media, newspapers, televisions etc. highlighting why piracy is bad and how one should differentiate a genuine product from a pirated one.
Students who may later grow up to become content creators or maybe use others work for their own reference must be sensitised on this issue through educational campaigns. Piracy related topics should be a part of the curriculum and lectures should be regularly taken in order to make them aware of the repercussions of piracy. They must be made aware of the revenue loss that a creator faces due to piracy and the remedies available against the infringement.
Very often online platform can is misused for unscrupulous activities. Regular workshops could be set up to alert the administration about such crimes. Several States and U/Ts like Goa, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, etc. have set up copyright enforcement cells to deal with issues of piracy and copyright infringement separately.
Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU), National Cybercrime Reporting Portal are some platforms where such crimes could be reported.
On the legislative ground, the Government has framed policies like the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy, the draft E-Commerce Policy and has also brought amendments in the Cinematograph Act, 1952. India has also launched an Anti- Piracy Campaign- “Keeping Pirates at Bay”, with the aim of reducing piracy. It has included Cell for Promotion and Management (CIPAM), which conducts IPR awareness programs in the nation and also set up cells in colleges and universities. Also, India’s first IPR mascot IP Nani was launched to increase IP awareness among the youth.
Despite of these efforts, eradicating piracy is still challenging but nevertheless there has been a slight decrease in the piracy. Eventually, a day will come soon when piracy will no more be an issue for the creators of the work. For this a strict implementation of the Acts, guidelines or recommendations and generating massive awareness regarding benefits of IPR is the need of the hour.