Anti-Piracy Laws and Policies:
This article is written due to the widespread concerns on copyrighted content being downloaded and/or duplicated from unauthorized sources.
Some content on websites is freely licensed, meaning that you have the owner’s permission to download or duplicate and share these works freely.
However, most of the content on websites is protected by copyright and unauthorized downloading/ duplicating of such content is considered copyright infringement.
Firstly, it is a moral responsibility of every human to give respect to a content created by other humans. They should take it on themselves and think how it feels if it happens with any content created by them.
Secondly, doing this not only demotivates the creativity in the society but in the long run impacts every individual including the violators too.
Thirdly, the harsh legal penalties that come along with it.
Can I be jailed or fined for downloading or duplicating a copyrighted content?
Yes, if it is shown in a court that you knowingly infringe or help someone else infringe the copyright by downloading or duplicating it. The court will assume that you knew of the infringement because in most cases the content contains a watermark or notice which clearly indicates that it is a copyrighted work.
Under the law, the punishment if you are being convicted for the first offense is jail time between six months and three years, with a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 200,000. Typically, the person who owns the copyright in the movie would only try to block the downloads (through take-down notices or court orders).
Under the law, the punishment for doing this again after you’ve already been punished once is more severe.
If you are caught doing this more than once, the jail time could range between one and three years along with a fine between Rs 100,000 and Rs 200,000.
However, you may receive a shorter jail term or fine if the court is convinced that your infringement was not commercial in nature (for personal use, rather than to sell or rent out).
The law does not require the police to give you notice or a warning before it registers a complaint or takes action. Any sub-inspector or higher-ranked police officer can seize all unauthorized copies of a copyrighted work and the apparatus used to make these copies. Typically, this involves a seizure of the computer in which the infringing copy is located.
The officer is not required to obtain a warrant (or permission from the court) before conducting the seizure and can seize property even on the suspicion that it may be used to commit infringement.
The Copyright Act, 1957 is applicable throughout India. India is seeing a content boom. There are so many different mediums from which people can consume a wide variety of content. As more people are getting online, the demand for varied content, in different mediums, will not get over anytime soon. This is great for consumers, but we need the law to keep pace as well. While advances in content distribution and internet connectivity provide huge potential for increasing access to content, unless it is supported by the law, such access could be criminal.
The law needs to accommodate this boom so that access to content is easy, affordable, and most importantly legal.