Landmark Copyright-related Events in the year 2016- Part I

Hello readers, 2016 has been a year full of exciting changes. Almost too many. In this post and subsequent posts we will bring to you events that made headlines in the field of copyright law.

  • Restriction of three Copyright Societies from granting licenses until April 2017

In an order issued by the Justice Endlaw of the Delhi High Court in December, Saregama India Ltd. was asked to deposit Rs.20 lakhs in Court in a copyright infringement suit filed by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (Plaintiff) against Saregama, which allowed users to play and download songs from 29 movies for which copyright was not assigned, according to the Plaintiff. The Court held that it would desist from granting the injunction against Saregama subject to the deposit of Rs. 20 lakhs. It stated that while the defendant would be allowed to stream the music on its website and allow downloads by users, it shall not be entitled to grant fresh or new licenses with respect to the same.

  • Restriction of three Copyright Societies from granting licenses until April 2017

The Delhi High Court, in late December, restrained the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) and Novex Communications Pvt. Ltd. from granting licences until April 2017, as these entities had contravened s. 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957. This section states that licenses for copyrighted works can be granted only by a registered society. The Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) had claimed violation of s.33, as the license of IPRS and PPL had lapsed in June. Novex was never registered as a copyright society. These societies were issuing licenses despite not holding the copyright over these works.

  • DU Photocopy Case

In the landmark decision of The Chancellor, Masters & Scholars of University of Oxford v. Rameshwari Photocopy Services, pronounced in December, a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Justice Nandrajog and Justice Yogesh threw light on the fair use/ fair dealing test. Described by some as a ‘meteoric’ decision, the Court ruled that distribution of course packs, comprising pages from the books published by various publishers such as Oxford University Press, to students by photocopy shops would not amount to infringement, as long as it was shown that course packs would be used solely for the purpose of educational institutions. This judgment has been hailed as a significant decision pertaining to access to affordable education in India.
The decision turned on Section 52(1) (i) of the Copyright Act, 1957, with the Court ruling that there was no limit to the number of pages that can be photocopied from the books of the publishers. The only requirement is that such photocopied course packed be used for educational instruction, upholding the fair use and fair dealing standard.
Authored by Malavika Parthasarathy
Image Source : here, the image is in public domain.

Leave a comment