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Strengthening the Content Protection in Electronic Age: Adherence to the Indian Copyright Law

What do we mean when we are referring to the term 'electronic' -

In reference to the topic, the term ‘electronic’ can be referred to that computer era where each and every part of the globe is connected to one another by the means of telecommunication technologies and network which aids towards the transmission of data. This is an open network place where numerous copies of text, images, sound and video files can be easily created and transmitted which brings a great infringement and threat to intellectual property owners.

Online world & the involvement of IPR - With the expansion of internet and the remarkable spreading of information and knowledge, the intellectual property system is being propelled towards the debate of future online world and its stability. The maintenance of digital society is at question since information and knowledge available online are gaining the position of major source of value. The most common type of infringements includes hacking of the computer systems and then illegally accessing its records. There needs to be a great involvement of the IPR system in the e-commerce activities which are at a great threat. Users may easily get victimized of the online misrepresentation made by the hackers and the breach of Confidentiality, Privacy and Fraud. Such e-commerce websites on one hand do try to imitate all the basic characters of the parent domain (that may be a well repudiated e-commerce website with a large number of customers follow-up), they also do copy all the contents of the parent website in order to establish the best replica.

The website and the copyright issue - A website may look as a singular entity however the concept is much complex as it seems to be. A college of components are included in any website. For say, one company may own its copyright over the images used in the website, another company may own copyright over the design applied at one’s site. Similarly, the graphics, text designs and backgrounds may be the copyrighted work of an entirely different individual. Hence when an individual is copying any element from a particular website, he should be cautious enough as at the same time he would be infringing the copyright of that person by breaching the law.

The website developer and the copyright ownership - There are instances where the website has been developed by the employees for any third person. This is a case where basically most of the big companies outsource the creation of their company’s website to a private contractor. Normally such private contractors own copyright over the website unless a contract for agreeing on a different term has been negotiated between the parties.Where no valid agreement has been entered, the copyright ownership of the website rests with the designer and for the purpose of the slightest of the change in the website; the company shall have to contact the designer.

Website materials owned by owners - Currently the state of technology is such that website contents can be easily copied and used. However such practice though easy to adopt is illegal. Using materials without getting prior permission breaches the copyright agreements and may lead the infringer to face dire consequences. Hence before copying any content, prior license must be asked to be granted. Similarly there are various online tools available in one’s website that are basically provided to increase the website’s feasibility. A similar umbrella protection is available to such website tools. However many a times, finding the right copyright owner is not an easy job. Hence what most of the website developers do is that they try to initiate the developing of the website using the materials that is already available in the public domain. For works that are not in the public domain, prior permission needs to be acquired. Such information can be gathered by looking at the that simplifies the process of granting licence.

Method of availing protection: Letting people know that the content is protected - As per the assumption of many people, the website contents and materials can be freely used. At the same time there rises the need of warning the users by the means of any disclaimer or notification that appears on the start-up of the web page. Such start-up disclaimer must clearly distinguish between what matter of the website can be further transmitted and what matter is subjected to copyright. It is equally workable if the proper copyright © symbol is placed next to the copyrighted matter and that will fulfill the business. Similarly, the photographs and images used in the web page can be ‘watermarked’ to let the users know that the matter is subjected to copyright.

Controlling access and use of the website - For the purpose of controlling the access of the website content for say to limit the audience or to let an age specific population to gain access to the website, the method of ‘online agreements’ is appreciated. Such agreements let the visitors to surf through the website contents for a limited period of time. Another method is to upload the content into several parts with sufficient details. When the user tries to access the full content, he has to fulfill the login details.

Conclusion - A copyright exists not merely on an idea but on the expression of it. When an individual challenges to develop a new literary work and utilizes to maintain it in his/her personal website, the work must be secured from the threat of misutilization. The cyberspace we are dealing with here engulfs an enormous amount of data and proportionally is the threat of misutilization. Now a days, users find it an easy way to utilize the work that is available online without acknowledging the legal consequences of such attempt. It lies the prior responsibility of the website owners to protect their content. However, there are various methods through which user asses to the website contents can be controlled and managed. The Indian Intellectual property system in various ways through its wings boosts the protection which one can utilize. Online data protection is both a need and a necessity and safeguarding the information ensures the maintainability of the right that the Indian copyright law vests in the copyright holder.


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