Intellectual Property

 

Software is one of the most valuable technologies of the Information Age, running everything from PCs to the Internet.

Computer software affects every aspect of our lives, but most significantly the way we communicate. With the touch of a button or the click of a mouse, information is transmitted across the globe. With each passing year, software evolves into a faster, more sophisticated, versatile and easy-to-use technology. Computer software allows companies to save time, effort and money. Home software now includes a wide array of programs that enhance the user’s productivity and creativity. And computer graphics have turned PCs into a veritable inventive. The industry thrives on original software packages that are paid for and from these not only the software publishers stand to benefit but users too.

But unfortunately, because most software is highly valuable, and computers make it easy to create an exact copy of a program in seconds, software piracy is widespread. From individual computer users to professionals who deal wholesale in stolen software, piracy exists in homes, schools, businesses and government.

IPR Law in India

Computer software affects every aspect of our lives, but most significantly the way we communicate. With the touch of a button or the click of a mouse, information is transmitted across the globe. With each passing year, software evolves into a faster, more sophisticated, versatile and easy-to-use technology. Computer software allows companies to save time, effort and money. Home software now includes a wide array of programs that enhance the user’s productivity and creativity. And computer graphics have turned PCs into a veritable inventive. The industry thrives on original software packages that are paid for and from these not only the software publishers stand to benefit but users too.

But unfortunately, because most software is highly valuable, and computers make it easy to create an exact copy of a program in seconds, software piracy is widespread. From individual computer users to professionals who deal wholesale in stolen software, piracy exists in homes, schools, businesses and government.

In India, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of computer software is covered under the Copyright Law. Accordingly, the copyright of computer software is protected under the provisions of Indian Copyright Act 1957. Major changes to Indian Copyright Law were introduced in 1994 and came into effect from 10 May 1995. These changes or amendments made the Indian Copyright law, one of the toughest in the world.

The amendments to the Copyright Act introduced in June 1994 were in themselves, a landmark in the India’s copyright arena. For the first time in India, the Copyright Law clearly explained:

 

§  the rights of a copyright holder

 

§  position on rentals of software

 

§  the rights of the user to make backup copies

 

§  and most importantly the amendments imposed heavy punishment and fines for infringement of copyright of software.

Because most software is easy to duplicate and the copy is usually as good as original, the Copyright Act was greatly in demand. According to this Act, the infringer can be tried under both civil and criminal law.

According to section 14 of this Act, it is illegal to make or distribute copies of copyrighted software without proper or specific authorisation. The only exception is provided by section 52 of the Act, which allows a backup copy purely as a temporary protection against loss, distribution or damage to the original copy. The 1994 amendment to the Copyright Act also prohibits the sale or hiring, or any offer for sale or hire of any copy of the computer program without specific authorisation of the Copyright holder.

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