Internet Piracy and Counterfeiting problem

Gazal Gupta

Abstract-

Internet piracy has a huge impact on all the countries and is rapidly increasing. Every country has laid down laws and our taking extreme steps to deal with it. India, being one of them has bought several amendments and curbed piracy and counterfeiting in India. There are several cases which have moulded our laws and have led to fewer losses for the industries.

Introduction

What if the good which is about to break your bank is build out of counterfeited parts? Or the medical treatment you are about to undergo uses pirated equipment’s? Will this be a cost-effective technique?  Today, every industry, every country and no doubt every copyrighted, patented, trademarked and related material is affected by piracy. India makes it way to the top 5 countries where online piracy is very much welcomed.[1]Piracy is an unlawful act and counterfeiting and internet piracy are two out of five segments of it. Counterfeiting means “the process of fraudulently manufacturing, altering, or distributing a product that is of lesser value than the genuine product”[2] and Internet piracy means “the illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material on the web”[3]. These two sections are present in every part of the world but there are different scenarios throughout.

Perspective under international scenario

Internationally, there is no set law for governance of internet piracy or counterfeiting. The United Nations Documents on Piracy[4] only covers the physical and maritime piracy and doesn’t concentrate on the internet piracy and counterfeiting. However there are countries where downloading of such content is permitted i.e. Switzerland, Spain, Poland and many countries where downloading content is overlooked i.e. Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and India[5] being a part of it as well. However there are also countries who have shut down such sites or have fines imposed like 5 years of prison and $250,000 fine[6] in United States of America or 5 years imprisonment and $99,000 fine[7] in Australia.

Laws in India

In India, Piracy and counterfeiting is an overriding force is increasing at the rate of 60% in comparison with other countries. The punishment of piracy is given by union of India under cinematograph Act, 1952 where there is a punishment of 3 years and fine of Rs. 10 lakh or both[8]. There are also a number of charges which regulate piracy and counterfeiting. Under Copyright Act, 1957 if a person uses a pirated computer program then imprisonment of at least 7 days and fine of minimum Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 3 lakh.[9]Also, under Information Technology Act, 2000, a compensation of Rs 1 crore is provided by the person who steals data and affects the author.[10] Further Section 498 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with counterfeiting of currency and leads to 10 year punishment and fine as prescribed.[11]Except laws, government is also supporting internet service providers who are working towards blocking these websites and are taking strict measures to ensure security of data like awareness, price regulation and encouraging barriers to entry on pirated sites.

Leading cases

There are a few cases which moulded Intellectual Property Laws and affected piracy and counterfeiting. The very first being Time Incorporated v. Lokesh Srivastava and Anr.[12]It stated that “court dealing with actions for infringement of trademarks, copyrights, patents etc, should not only grant compensatory damages but award punitive damages also with a view to discourage and dishearten law breakers, who indulge in violations with impunity out of lust for money so that they realise that in case they are caught, they would be liable not only to reimburse the aggrieved party, but would be liable to pay punitive damages also, which may spell financial disaster for them.” The effect of this judgement is clearly seen. The pockets of violators will be heavily charged which will lead to reduction of such kind of offences. In another case, Hero Honda Motors Limited v. Rafiq Memon on 28th February 2012[13], there was a difference in the colour of price label which was green in the original product and white in fake and there was also a price difference of Rs. 7 and Rs. 14. There were other variances as well. It was proved that the conduct of defendant was dishonest and mala fide and the loss suffered by the original business was of Rs. 20,05,000. Hence, holding the defendant was held liable for counterfeiting and had to compensate the plaintiff.

Conclusion

Piracy and counterfeiting is a huge issue in India. Steps are taken to improve it and many efforts and practices have been invented to protect material but at the same time it is tremendously neglected and not given enough importance in the nation. It is understandable that it cannot be fully removed in a democratic country like ours but through strict adherence of laws, monitoring of technology and cooperation it can be minimised and the industries can be saved from facing huge losses throughout the year. It is important to curb these problems and make India a successful democracy with a developing economy.


[1]Online Piracy in Numbers – Facts and Statistics [Infographic]. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.go-gulf.com/online-piracy/

[2]counterfeiting. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/counterfeiting

[3]Internet piracy. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/internet+piracy

[4]Piracy Under International Law. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.un.org/Depts/los/piracy/piracy.htm

[5]Are Torrents Illegal? Update by Country 2020. (2020). Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/torrents-illegal-update-country/

[6]UN (2020). Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/USA_piracy.pdf

[7]Counterfeiting and piracy | IP Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ip-infringement/more-about-ip-infringement/counterfeiting-and-piracy

[8]Government introduces bill in Rajya Sabha to amend Cinematograph Act: Jail term, fine for film piracy. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/government-introduces-bill-in-rajya-sabha-to-amend-cinematograph-act-jail-term-fine-for-film-piracy/articleshow/67960420.cms?from=mdr

[9]Copyright Rules, 1957. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from http://www.copyright.gov.in/Documents/CopyrightRules1957.pdf

[10]Information Technology Act, 2000. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/1999/3/A2000-21.pdf

[11]Indian Penal Code, 1860 Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/4219/1/THE-INDIAN-PENAL-CODE-1860.pdf

[12]Time Incorporated vs Lokesh Srivastava And Anr. on 3 January, 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1152738/

[13]Hero Honda Motors Limited vs Rafiq Memon on 28 February, 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://indiankanoon.org/doc/8022081/

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