Copyright laws enable authors to benefit from their creative work and foster innovation
Copyright is the engine of progress. It encourages creativity and innovation and enables producers to benefit financially. You may have come across the words ‘copyright protected’ on many items you buy. They include movie DVDs, music, books, computer software and a myriad of other things. The term implies they are protected by copyright laws, and only the holders have the right to sell and profit from these products.
Why are copyright laws relevant? They are relevant because it takes a lot of talent, energy and resources to come up with creative, new ideas or products, and it is only natural that creators benefit financially from their efforts. For example, a software company has to spend years and crores of rupees to come up with a commercially viable product. It stands to lose money if someone cheaply reproduces the product and sells it for a fraction of the price, in what is called `piracy’. Pirated software not only brings losses to the developing company but it also acts as a disincentive to others who may come up with new innovative products.
Copyright law in India
In the past, copyright infringements, especially for products made in industrialized countries, were commonplace. But with growing awareness about the importance of copyright, there has been a decrease in the cases reported. Pressure from international counterparts and companies too has forced the Government to be tough against copyright infringements.
In India, copyright laws are the preserve of The Copyright Act 1957. The Act has witnessed changes at least five times – 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1999 and 2012. The Copyright 2012 Act is the most significant and brings the law in conformity with two WIPO Internet treaties concluded in 1996 – the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).
If any copyright violation occurs, various actions can be taken under Section 55 of the Act. These include injunction, financial relief and imprisonment. In India, those found guilty of copyright infringement could suffer imprisonment ranging from six months to three years, or a can be charged a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh.
Benefits of copyright
Why is copyright so important? Here, in a nutshell, are the various benefits:
- Exclusive use: Once you get copyright for your work, others cannot use it without permission. If any infringement takes place, you can carry out legal action.
- Record of ownership: Once you get the copyright registered, there will be a public record of the ownership of your work.
- Preventing misuse: You can prevent misuse of your work by registering a copyright. You will have more control over how it is presented to the public.
- Economic gain: The most crucial benefit is the economy you derive from the same. You will have the sole right to any revenue that accrues from your original work.
- Encourages creativity: It encourages general creativity in the society as owners enjoy the benefits of creative work.
This article should give you a good idea why copyright is important. So when you come up with a novel idea, you can benefit financially from it.