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Copyright Infringement in India

Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement in India

Copyright laws provide certain exclusive rights to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. Use of such copyright-protected work without the permission of the copyright owner is copyright infringement. In this article, we look at copyright infringement in India.

Common Types of Copyright Infringement

The following are some of the most common types of copyright infringement:

  • Making copies of copyrighted works for sale or hire or letting them for hire.
  • Permitting performance of copyright infringed works at any place for the performance of works.
  • Distributing copyright infringing works.
  • Public exhibition of copyright-infringing works.
  • Importing copyright infringing works into India.

If any of the activity is performed by a person or business, then they are liable for prosecution under copyright laws in India.

How to Claim Copyright Ownership

In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, the name of the author or the publisher which appears on copies of the work is presumed to be the author of the work, unless the contrary is proved.

Remedy for Copyright Infringement in India

Copyright owners can take legal action against any person or entity that infringes on the copyright of a work. The copyright owner can file a civil remedies case in a court having jurisdiction and is entitled to remedies by way of injunctions, damages and accounts. Further, no court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class can try any offence under the Copyright Act.

In case of copyright infringement by an artificial judical person like a private limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP), the company and all persons who at the time the offence was committed was in charge or was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company, would be liable to be proceeded against.

Criminal Prosecution for Copyright Infringement

If any person knowingly infringes or abets the infringement of the copyright in any work, then such an offence is a criminal offence under Copyright Act. In the case of criminal copyright infringement, the minimum punishment for an infringement of copyright is imprisonment for six months with a minimum fine of Rs. 50,000/-. In the case of a second and subsequent conviction, the minimum punishment is imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs.1,00,000/-.

Copyright Infringement a Cognizable Offence

Cognisable offence means a police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a court. Copyright infringement is a cognizable offence and any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector, can seize without a warrant, all copies of the work and all plates used for the purpose of making infringing copies of the work, to be produced before a magistrate.

To obtain copyright registration or to consult a copyright attorney, visit