As we become so noticeable in digital space and leave an interminable path of information behind us, precisely who has our information and how it is used, turns out to be progressively significant. With the assistance of the advanced digital world, the authors and performers are facilitated with the boundless platform to communicate their work to the public at large. However, everything has its pros and cons; along with having the advantage of a vast platform, the risk of their work being misused is additionally there. To protect the literary work or any artistic work, the Copyright Act, 2012 and other international instruments for copyright protection work as a boon for the authors and artists. As the digital world is expanding the need for copyright protection in digital space has become more and more important with every passing day. Although efforts have been made by the government and international organisations for copyright protection in digital space, there are many difficulties faced by various authors and performers for the same. This article aims to bring out the actuality in copyright protection in digital space and what are the difficulties in implementing it to the fullest.
Copyright Protection Laws and Treaties
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has defined “Copyright” as :- “Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.” Copyright is the tool for monetary, social and cultural growth of a country, thus it is very much necessary to prevent copyright infringement. The risk of copyright infringement in digital world is beyond imagination. Copyright infringement is the use of copyright protected material without the permission of the copyright holder who has the exclusive right over that material. As it is a well known fact that when people have the freedom to do as they please, they tend to imitate others. In this context, the digital world has been depicted as the world’s greatest copier because it has minimum restrictions on the use of the content that it provides. Under such circumstances it becomes very much essential to adjust the domestic laws in such a way so that they can be effective in order to curbthe copyright infringement taking place with the help of evolving technology. The authors are provided with the remedies by the domestic laws as well as by international treaties. Only domestic laws are not capable to provide proper protection to the copyright holders it is necessary to comply the domestic laws with the international treaties in order to provide full support to the copyright holders. With a view to curb the copyright infringement, there have been various international instruments which are incorporated by WIPO and various countries have shown a keen interest in preventing this global problem of copyright infringement. The international instruments for this purpose are:-
1) Berne Convention, 1886.
2) WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), 1996.
3) WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), 1996.
4) Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), 1994. These international treaties are incorporated by India and they are complied withthedomestic laws i.e., The Copyright Act, 1957.
Berne Convention, 1886 provides various rights to the authors and performers which includes moral rights as well as economic rights. According to this Convention, it is not necessary for the author to register his/her work in every country, the protection is independent of existence of protection in the country of origin of the work . However, as the technology evolved the provisions of Berne Convention became incapable of protecting the works in the digital space. It lagged behind in facing the challenges posed by the growing technology and increasing cases of copyright exploitation. In order to solve the rising problem of copyright infringement, two internet treaties were introduced by WIPO i.e., WCT and WPPT in 1996. WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996deals with (1) Computer programs, (2) Compilations of data or other material, in any form, which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations. WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) deals with (1) performers and (2) producers of phonograms
These treaties provides various rights to the authors and performers and make sure that the limitations and exceptions as established by the national law can be complied with these treaties and new
limitations and exceptions can be introduced keeping in mind the “Three Step Test”. Both these treaties obliges each contracting party to adopt in accordance with its legal system the measures necessary to ensure the application of these treaties. Thesetreaties were more effective than Berne Convention but still the copyright infringement which took place in digital environment was increasing withtheadvancing technology. The works that are on internet have a global reach and suchworks can be used by people as and when required as the internet does not have thesufficient restrictions on the users to protect copyright infringement. In order tobemore precise about the use of authors work, Digital Rights Management whichis asystematic approach to protect copyright infringement in digital environment; alsoprovides various methods to prevent unauthorised distribution of copyrighted workand restrict the ways consumers can copy the content they have purchased. It deals with: (1) Access control and copy control, (2) Encryption Schemes and (3) Digital Watermarks. All these domestic and international laws attempt to control thecopyright infringement and protect the copyrighted work in the digital space withevery possible amendments as and when required looking to the growing technologyand its challenges.
Difficulties faced by the Copyright owners in Digital Space
Digital world is growing immensely in order to provide the best services and all possible updates from every corner of the earth to its users. It works as a global platform for authors, performers and artists to present their work all around the world but it also increases the risk of their work being used without giving them proper credits for their own work. The term “Global Piracy” is not new, the work which is once uploaded on the internet can be used by anyone at anytime as per his/her choice. The number of cases being filed for copyright infringement in digital space are increasing and the authors are suffering due to lack of proper machinery to deal with global piracy and global copyright infringement problem. The appraisal of worldwide copyright infringement ranges into billions of dollars. There have been cases where the movie, songs, paintings and other artistic works are leaked before they are officially presented to the public because of “Global Piracy”. The absence of proper legal set of rules for such advancing digital problems will soon undermine the basic structure of copyrights and related rights and the whole concept of copyright protection will be mislaid. The amendments made in the Copyright Act, 2012 are in cope tent for confronting the difficulties presented by developing technology and go past the challenges in their scope. Even after the amendments in domestic law and ratification in international treaties, the fast growing technology poses new challenges with every passing day to the copyright holders. It has become difficult to achieve copyright enforcement because of the advancing internet technology. The registered copyright owners face such problems and it becomes difficult for them to protect their work on a global platform but it is much more difficult for the unregistered copyright owners to protect their work. The domestic laws in every country will not suffice to curb this global problem, there is a need to have a multinational enforcement, so that the authors and artists all over the world are protected from copyright infringement.
The advent of growing internet technology makes it easier to reproduce a content without the permission of the author of the original work whereas it creates more problems for the copyright owners to protect their work on a global level. It is necessary to have a borderless protection system to curb the borderless copyright infringement problem in the digital space. The authors and artists cannot be stopped from communicating their work to public through internet as it is against the public interest in rewarding the authors for their value-able work moreover, people also cannot be restricted completely to use the works of the authors without their permission, there has to be a proper balance between the dissemination of the work and illegal use of such work in the digital space. The world needs a specific technology to counter such global technological problem. At the end, the literary work and artistic work done by the authors and performers becomes the heritage of every country which is to be protected at all cost.
https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/summary_berne.html [August 27,2020,10:25 PM]
https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/wct/ [August 27, 2020, 10:30 PM]
About the author
Harsha Bhatia is a 4th year student of Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat, Gujarat.