India


While Indian fair use is not explicit, provisions exist for the fair dealing of copyright. Rohit Singh and Tina Canneth of Abu-Ghazeleh Intellectual Property delve deeper

Between the black and white of copyright protection, there exists a grey area--the fair use clause, which looks after the interest of the public in accessing any protected work. This fair dealing permits the unauthorised copying of a copyrighted work, provided that the act of copying is for a greater good and in the interest of society.

In India, the principle of ‘fair dealing’ is enshrined in Sections 39 and 52 of the Indian Copyright Act. Section 39 lists acts that do not infringe broadcast reproduction rights and performers’ rights. Section 52 lists the acts that do not constitute infringement of copyright.

According to Section 52, the fair dealing exception applies to the use of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works in the context of:


  • Research or private study;

  • A government document or law;

  • The public recitation of certain extracts of a work;

  • The use of the work by educational institutions, teachers or students in the course of instruction;

  • The use of the work by non-commercial clubs; and

  • Using the work to report current events by way of newspapers, magazines, periodicals, radio, or through photographs in a cinematographic medium.


The scope of Section 52 was widened by a legislative amendment in 2012 to include:

  • Special exceptions with respect to the use of cinematographic works and sound recordings;

  • The transient or incidental storage of electronic works that might occur in the process of electronic transmission or communications;

  • The adaptation or modification of copyrighted work so as to be made more accessible to persons with disabilities;

  • Certain exceptions with respect to non-commercial public libraries; and

  • Technical drawings meant to be used in the construction of three-dimensional works.


Fair dealing itself has not been defined in the act. However, it is a legal doctrine that allows a user to make limited use of copyrighted work without the permission of the owner.

The High Court of Madras in Blackwood & Sons v A.N. Parasuraman in 1959 held that there should be no mens rea (intention or knowledge) to compete with the copyright holder and derive benefits from the copyrighted work. For the defence of fair dealing to succeed, the following two conditions should be met: no mens rea to compete with the copyright holder; and there should be no improper use of the copyrighted work.

The High Court of Delhi in the chancellor, masters and scholars of the University of Oxford v Rameshwari Photocopy Services in 2016 recognised the socio-economic realities of India by upholding the access to education. The Leading publishers, Oxford University Press (OUP), Cambridge University Press (CUP) and Taylor & Francis (T&F), filed a lawsuit against Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Service, the licensed photocopier for creating and distributing course packs to the students of the university. The defendant was making course packs by photocopying and compiling major portions from relevant textbooks. The court noted that there is no dissimilarity between a student receiving a book from the University of Delhi and copying it and the defendant doing the same job, as long as the copy was made for private use.

It was held that the defendant was not a competitor as they were only making compilations of small portions of prescribed textbooks. This was protected under Section 52 of the Copyright Act.

The High Court of Delhi in Syndicate Press of University of Cambridge v Kasturi Lal & Sons in 2006 observed that: “Law should encourage enterprise, research and scholarship but such encouragement cannot come at the cost of the right of an individual to protect against the misappropriation of what is essentially a product of his intellect and ingenuity.”

“The law encourages innovation and improvement but not plagiarism. Copyright is a form of protection and not a barrier against research and scholarship. Lifting portions of the original work and presenting it as one’s own creation can in no way be described as any form of bona fide enterprise or activity. Research and scholarship are easily distinguishable from imitation and plagiarism.”

Copyright laws play a vital role in the internet age, especially with respect to content creation. There is plethora of information that is available on the internet, which might or might not be copyrighted. The reference to online copyright issues can be found in the Copyrights Act of 1957 and the Information Technology Act 2000.

The rise of the internet has led to developing a vast repository of data residing across servers, which constitute publicly available information. The process of automatically extracting information from publicly available servers is termed as data extraction. The process of data extraction can take a toll on the resources of the websites, which try to impede this process by using various technologies, such as CAPTCHA.

Data extraction involves copying and therefore activating the copyright laws. Section 52 of the Copyright Act allows copying or making backup copies or adaptation for the purposes for which the program was supplied to the user. Also, it is allowed to make backup copies as a temporary protection against loss, destruction or damage to use the program for the purposes for which the program was supplied.

Section 10(a) of the Information Technology Act relates to the validity of contracts formed through electronic means on the internet. So the formation of contract is solely by electronic means, by virtue of which a liability for all infringing actions can be assessed.

The concept of fair dealing is still at a very nascent stage in India and requires a strict analysis of approach in interpreting (strict or liberal) the fair dealing clause. A probable reason for adopting the fair dealing doctrine is that India attaches tremendous importance to research and study. Indian courts need to develop the distinctive features of its fair dealing regime as the copyright jurisprudence is waiting to be further developed to address fundamental issues about the purpose, meaning and application of the Indian law on fair dealing.


Country profiles
The latest country profiles from IPPro The Internet
While Indian fair use is not explicit, provisions exist for the fair dealing of copyright. Rohit Singh and Tina Canneth of Abu-Ghazeleh Intellectual Property delve deeper
An interpretation of the current events exception in Radosavljević is creative, say BDK Advokati's Bogdan Ivanišević and Marko Popović
IPPro Patents

Visit our sister site
for all the latest IP patents news and analysis

ippropatents.com
Yu-Li Tsai of Deep & Far examines how damages are calculated in patent infringement litigation
A recent amendment will make costly annulments a thing of the past. Gilberto Sanchez of SPECyF explains
New legislation in Turkey promises a swathe of trademark changes. Dr Cahit Suluk of Cahit Suluk Intellectual Property Law Firm explains
A trademark decision clarified ‘against the public order’ as an absolute ground for refusal. Sár and Partners – Danubia Patent & Law Office reports
Bogdan Ivanišević and Marko Popović of BDK Advokati review the recent squabble about copyright protection for ‘routinely created photos’
Alston & Bird recently expanded with a new office focusing on counselling Chinese companies on US intellectual property law. Yitai Hu explains what patent owners face when working across borders
Features
The latest features from IPPro The Internet
Brand protection specialist INCOPRO has expanded its presence to Caerphilly, Wales. Helen Saunders, COO of INCOPRO, explains the company’s new brand protection efforts
Vladimir Biriulin of Gorodissky discusses the technical knowledge that the Russian IP Court has developed over its four-year tenure
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
With EU copyright reforms coming to a head, Barney Dixon speaks to Raegan MacDonald to see how the landscape has changed in recent months
Le Quang Vinh of Bross & Partners examines the substantive changes to criminal law in Vietnam that promise to rein in counterfeiting and piracy
As EU copyright reform continues, publishers are insisting the press publisher’s right will be good for business and won’t harm consumers. Angela Mills Wade of the European Publishers Council explains
ECTA’s copyright committee was formed in response to the modernisation of the EU’s approach to copyright. Chair Dr Christian Freudenberg tells Mark Dugdale what this has meant in practice
ECTA has ramped up its efforts to ensure that IP rights are heard in Brexit negotiations. But this isn’t all the trademark association has been up to in the past year, as Ruta Olmane explains
William Dyer III and Bea Koempel-Thomas of Lee & Hayes examine TC Heartland v Kraft and the arguments put forward in support of each party
Interviews
The latest interviews from IPPro The Internet