In today’s modern world of technology and world wide web, copyrighted works (“content”) are often shared across multiple jurisdictions through various modern digital technologies and most of the times without the consent and/or knowledge of the content owners. What are the international protections of copyright in India and United Kingdom?
Content owners in today’s world range from large corporations to numerous start-ups and individuals who create content on a regular basis. The content can be in the form of software programs, literary and artistic works, audio or audio-visual works and several others which are protected under copyright regimes across jurisdictions.
India is not far behind in content creation and often the content created by small or medium enterprises or individuals are disseminated across jurisdictions with no knowledge or consent of the creator. Content owners most of the times are helpless as they feel that infringement occurring across the borders may not be remedied, as the Indian Copyright Laws would not be effective in foreign jurisdictions.
However, from 1886 several countries had tried to come together to create a universal / global convention or union of countries, giving protection to works of member countries, if an infringement had taken place. Treaties and conventions have been adopted by major countries including the Berne Convention and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement which are among the major global treaties that render global protection of copyright works.
This article will look at the legal remedies that may be available to an entity or individual based in India in the event of a Copyright breach of their works in the United Kingdom.
The Berne Convention
The Berne Convention was intended to promote copyright protection for authors by setting minimum standards, eliminating any formalities for granting protection, and achieving national treatment by ending discrimination between domestic and foreign authors.
In simple terms, the Berne Convention ensures foreign right holders the same legal protection in other countries as those countries afford to their own nationals. For example, the United Kingdom copyright law applies to infringement in the United Kingdom of any content which may have been published only in India.
The three salient features of the Berne Convention are:
- Works originating in one of the member countries must be given the same protection in each of the other member countries as they grant to the works of its own nationals.
- Protection must not be conditional upon compliance with any formality
- Protection is independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work.
As a right holder, the Berne Convention assures and ensures the following protection in each member country:
- the right to translate,
- the right to make adaptations and arrangements of the work,
- the right to perform in public
- the right to recite in public,
- the right to communicate to the public
- the right to broadcast
- the right to make reproductions
These are the exclusive rights ensured to a right holder under the Convention. If there is a breach or infringement of these rights of a right holder in India and it takes place in the United Kingdom, then the right holder in India, can seek redress for the infringement through courts in the United Kingdom.
Similarly, an entity based in the United Kingdom, can seek redress from an Indian Court for infringement of rights pertaining to works which were published in the United Kingdom and infringement of the rights taking place in India.
The TRIPS Agreement
The TRIPS agreement is an international treaty between the members of the World Trade Organization, adopted in the year 1994. Amongst other rights, TRIPS deal with protection of copyright and to ensure protection of copyright by all the member signatories, TRIPS have adopted the Berne Convention (save and except Article 6). TRIPS also specify in no uncertain terms, that software programmes are to be considered a part of literary works. Such specification has perhaps cleared the ambiguity surrounding the Berne Convention, which did not provide that comfort. The TRIPS agreement ensures similar protection to works of member countries as protected under the Berne Convention.
United Kingdom Copyright Law
The main source of copyright legislation in the United Kingdom is Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, 1988 (CDPA). The act offers protection to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and sound recordings, films, broadcasts, typographical arrangements of published editions.
The United Kingdom is a signatory to both the Berne Convention and the TRIPS agreement like India. This is reflected in Section 208(1)(a) of the CDPA, which extends the protection under CDPA to individuals of “Convention Countries”. Convention Countries are part of any international treaty / convention / agreement to which the United Kingdom is a signatory. Therefore, by the virtue of both India and the United Kingdom being signatories to the Berne Convention and the TRIPS, both the countries offer reciprocal protection of copyrighted works.
Copyright is not an absolute right and there are certain limitations and restrictions which have been placed by various countries from time to time. It is also timebound and expires after a certain period of time.
The enjoyment of copyright in the United Kingdom and India are subject to fair use, compulsory licensing and other limitations. Though moral rights are recognized in both the Jurisdictions, it is not absolute.
However, copyright laws of the United Kingdom along with the Berne Convention and the TRIPS agreement provide enough protection to the content created and published in India against any infringement in the United Kingdom.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding copyright and it’s protection in the UK or India then please contact Marsans.
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