Emerging Trends in Digital Copyright Law in India


The copyright law in historical chronicles is known to be the legacy of technology. It has undergone methodical changes keeping in view the nature, extent and domain of technology involved to secure the public interest of imagination, invention and resourcefulness. Its main thrust is to provide adequate incentives to authors and creators of miscellaneous copyright works, on the one hand, and make such works reachable to the public on the other hand.

The copyright law had to adjust itself between the need to award the creator and the attractiveness of making such works public. With the ubiquity of the Internet as a exceptional and wholly new intermediate of all-inclusive human communiqué all over the world, shrunk into a digital global village, the protection of copyright works has become a serious concern for lawyers, as well as, the other stakeholders. The Internet together with computer networks makes it possible for an more and more larger number of those to participate in collective information construction, thereby debilitate the efforts to provide encouragements to original creators of intellectual property. The Internet enables the nearly-instantaneous, original quality reproduction of and world-wide, lightening-speed dissemination of copyrighted works.

 The above arresting features of Internet make itself emerge as “the world’s biggest copy machine” The puzzles and inconsistencies underlying the digital dilemma, by nature, are connected with the dichotomy between the notion of “information wants to be free” and the anxieties for stronger registered control of information in the digital environment. Against the above background this paper shall examine and critically analyseunindustrialized issues regarding copyright protection in digital environment.

Government of India in 1998 passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which updated copyright laws to address the realities of Digital Technology at present . With the growth and development of Technology and more particularly digitization, the entire world has  recognized the need for a Digital Copyright Law. Therefore, the existing Copyright law was evolved, as the trend of maintaining records in the form of Digital data clearly requires protection a need felt all around the world.


The advancement in technology postured new challenges to the current copyright laws, as the law was primarily developed in the regime of print media that slowly evolved its protective works to include creative works, paintings, drawings, sculptures, which later expanded to photography and cinema as well. The age old legislations and their core concepts in copyright law had to be reentered, so as to make digital societal record progress. The technical copiers or recorders made the digital data easily available with the increase in use of the internet , which could lead to manipulation of the work vis a vis a free flow of information in society, as the moment this digital record is placed in the public domain on the internet the author loses all control.


A fair dealing exemption, use for education purpose which were earlier applicable only in relation to certain types of work e.g. literary, dramatic and musical works, have been made applicable to all types of work.

A fair dealing exception has been extended to the reporting of current events, including the reporting of a lecture delivered in public. Earlier, fair dealing exception was limited for

  • private or personal use, including research, and
  • criticism or review, whether of that work or of any other work.

Further, it has been elucidated that the storing of any work in any electronic medium for the purposes mentioned in this clause, including the accompanying storage of any computer programme which is not an trespassing copy, does not establish infringement. The transient and incidental storage of a work or performance purely in the technical process of electronic transmission or communication to the public;

The transient and incidental storage of a work or presentation for the purpose of providing electronic links, access or integration, where such links, access or integration has not been expressly prohibited by the right holder, unless the person responsible is aware or has reasonable grounds for have confidence in that such storage is of an infringing copy: Provided that if the person responsible for the storage of a copy, on a protest from which any person has been barred, he may require such person to produce an order within fourteen days from the competent court for the continued prevention of such storage;

The storage of a work in any medium by microelectronic means by a non‐commercial public library, for conservation if the library already enjoys a non‐digital copy of the work; The manufacture of a three‐dimensional object from a two‐dimensional artistic work, such as a technical drawing, for the purposes of industrial submission of any purely functional part of a useful device;

The progression of copyright has been closely linked to technical development. Whereas most of the technologies made copyright defense more difficult, digital computers managed to alter the fundamental concepts behind copyright. These contests to copyright industry have emerged at a time when the share of exclusive rights in national financial prudence is reaching unprecedented levels. It becomes critical to adjust the legal system to respond to the new technological developments in an effective and appropriate way, keeping in view the speed and pace of these developments.

A procedural mechanism for international litigation would serve to complement already existing substantive provisions. In order to augment enforcement the following measures may be taken:

  • The legal framework of Indian copyright law envisage penal and civil provisions to safeguard the interests of the creators, however, it is not free from hassles and hurdles which need to be eliminated.
  • The enforcement aspect of the provisions is a matter of great concern and there is an urgent need of building better administrative machinery for the enforcement of the provisions of the legislation which requires well-oiled enforcement machinery.
  • There is a need for trained and well-equipped specialized police force for detection and enforcement of provisions relating to violation of copyright and there is also a need for change of the judicial mindset in dealing with copyright violations.
  • There are still misconceptions, difficulties of access to courts, slow growth of copyright bar and delay in disposal of whatever cases reach the courts. It is submitted that redress and access to the adjudicatory machinery must be improved and this can be done in a better manner, if copyright or intellectual property tribunals manned by specialists in the areas are set up throughout the country. · The ubiquitous nature of Internet necessitates the consideration of multinational enforcement, which will to some degree require the harmonization of domestic laws concerning enforcement measures and facilitate the cross-border protection of copyright in the digital age. Diversities in basic theories and in the practice of national systems protecting copyright and related rights create obstacles to effective international and national implementation of protection of authors and other right owners.
  • The experience and achievements of the harmonization programme of the European Community demonstrate the opportunities of bringing together important provisions of diverse national systems. The unity of legislative approach will, it is defer to, be the only effective way of dealing with the problems posed for the exercise of copyright and related rights in the borderless environment created by the Internet and other international communication systems.
  • The provisions of the Berne Convention taken in conjunction with those of other relevant international apparatuses and the relevant regional instruments can, it is suggested, provide the basis for a unified global system of copyright, and, to be effective, future planning should be based on moves towards a world copyright regulation which will incorporate harmonized rules on all fundamental issues.
  • Last but not the least, since, the pirate is using new knowledges in the digital atmosphere to infringe on the copyright and related rights, so in the same vein, the holders of these rights should use the very means to counter such actions of infringer. As renowned novelist Chinua Achebe once said the Engel bird says ‘since man has learnt to shoot without missing, I have also learnt to fly without perching.
  • The recent Modifications to the Indian copyright law have certainly given room for using creative lawyering skills to develop and structure innovative business models to help the industries effectively deal with the changes.


Team @Law Times Journal
Hello. We are team members of Law Times Journal. Editorial members at Law Times Journal is a team of writers led by Vedanta Yadav. Want to become a writer at Law Times Journal? Send your current work/resume with title "Resume-Editor" at vedantayadav@lawtimesjournal.in