Digital copyright law

Growing technology and digitization entail a protective regime

With the growth of Technology and more particularly digitization the entire world has always recognized the need for a Digital Copyright Law. Therefore, the existing Copyright law has evolved, as the trend of maintaining records in the form of Digital data clearly requires protection a need felt all round the world.

The advancement in technology posed new challenges to the existing copyright laws, as the law was initially developed in the regime of print media that slowly brought under its protective shelter creative works, paintings, drawings, sculptures, which later expanded to photography and cinema as well. These age old legislations and their core concepts in copyright law had to be revisited, so as to make digital societal record progress. The technological copiers or recorders make the digital data easily available, which could lead to exploitation of the work vis a vis a free flow of information in society, as the moment this digital record is placed in public domain on the internet the author losses all control.  Therefore, as Copyright law per se grants certain negative rights to its owners to prevent anyone from doing acts pertaining to his work, as the Copyright law has now been modified to suit the new age digitization. 

Measure taken towards implementing the Digital Copyright regime worldwide

USA was the first to implement the provisions of the WCT (WIPO Copyright Treaty) and WPPT (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. It enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 that discussed protection of technological measures by dividing it into two categories being a measure that prevent unauthorized access of data and measures that prevent unauthorized copying. Thus it prohibits circumvention of technological measures controlling access The  second limb of the DMCA 1998 was it dealt with the technological measures used by authors to protect their copyright. However, this was severely criticized by the critics who state that this legislation prevented scientific research and academic development; although the DMCA had a good impact in updating copyright law for the digital environment, as it was the first legislation of its kind. .
The Digital Economy Act 2010 (c. 24) was enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom regulating digital media and was Introduced by Lord Mendelssohn, it received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010, and came into force on 8 June 2010. However, the Open Rights Group, privacy and consumer rights organizations criticized the online copyright infringement provisions viz section 3 to 18 of the Act, because it partly had a proposal of a graduated response scheme, which could eventually disconnect Internet accounts used for persistent copyright infringement. The Group took their concerns to the House of Lords and raised issues about the impact on businesses offering Internet access to their customers, such as libraries and universities.

Developing countries as they entered the digitization age face a major challenge as they are always dependent on developed countries, as a source of information. Developing countries must be allowed to maintain exemptions for educational and research purposes. It is very important that such works are available for the overall growth of the Country. Thus, providing access is important, although what form of access may depend in part upon the type of institution and its desire to engage in broad, public dissemination.

An Indian Perspective:
In India the Copyright Act does not fix a liability on the ISPs for infringement of Digital Copyright. Therefore, as an initiative the Information Technology Act 2000 redressed the issue of fixing liability on the ISPs for infringement. It states that no Service Provider was responsible for an offence committed or for violations happening without his knowledge, if the service provider has exercised all due diligence to prevent the violations.

Indian law resembles the provisions of the US Home Recording Act 1992, as section 52 of the Indian copyrights Act 1957 describes the concept of fair use exception. It exempts works done for private use or for criticizing or reviewing of the work. However the major drawback in Indian law is the Indian Copyright Law does not implement the anti circumvention provisions under the WCT and WPPT, as US and UK have done. Therefore, there are no provisions that prohibit circumvention of digital rights management systems in India. Therefore, there is piracy happening benefiting the users, who are getting copyrighted material at half the cost. On the contrary the owners are getting publicity, fame and prosperity vis s vis loosing out on opportunity to sell their original works that would have yielded them good revenue. The only remedy at the moment is to initiate legal action under the Copyright Act to prevent piracy.

Conclusion:
In this discussion it is important to note that the interests of both developed and developing countries cannot be satisfied in the digital world due to lack of territorial limits. Therefore, it is appropriate to have one single legislation for the entire world being a strong DRM system. Therefore, all content owners across the world would be encouraged to do more business on the internet which would result in more profits because of the wide reach and quality offered by the digital world. This in turn would provide good economic incentives, which would result in an increase in the use and creation of useful arts. Therefore, it would work to have strong laws against circumvention of DRM systems in order to curb piracy to a large extent. In turn to make India sufficient in vital information and knowledge, the government could guarantee supply of content by subsidizing it.

On account of the indivisible nature of the Internet having different rules for different countries, based on the development status of the country, works out to be cumbersome. Therefore, in common interests of both developed and developing countries, it would be advantageous for the world as a whole to have a strong legal protection against circumvention of DRM systems thereby encouraging creativity in useful arts, which in turn is beneficial for everyone.

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