Team SoOLEGAL 27 Oct 2023


What is Copyright?

Copyright law constitutes a fundamental branch of intellectual property rights designed to safeguard the integrity of original creative works. This legal framework applies to various forms of creative expression, such as literary, artistic, musical, or dramatic works, sound recordings, and cinematographic films. The primary aim is to prohibit unauthorized usage or reproduction of such works.

Copyright law serves as a means of nurturing creativity and innovation by granting creators exclusive control over their works, effectively deterring others from copying or utilizing their creations without explicit consent. This exclusivity is temporally limited and harmonizes the interests of creators with those of society as a whole.

However, it is imperative to recognize the interplay between copyright protection and the public's interests. For instance, the concept of fair use allows for the limited utilization of copyrighted material without permission, typically for purposes of education or criticism. This mechanism seeks to balance the rights of creators with the broader needs of society.

Exclusions from Copyright Protection

Copyright law safeguard the original expression of ideas but does not extend to the ideas themselves. Consequently, copyright can be applied to specific creative works, such as books and songs, but not to the underlying concepts or ideas.

In practical terms, one cannot assert exclusive rights over the concept of a love story, but can certainly copyright a particular written embodiment of that concept, such as a novel or screenplay. Similarly, the idea behind a recipe is not copyrightable; however, one can exercise ownership rights over the specific written instructions for preparing a dish.

It is essential to underscore that copyright law exclusively pertains to original creative works that have been concretely documented in a fixed form. Ideas that remain unexpressed and confined to abstract realms, such as those originating from brainstorming sessions or conversational exchanges, are exempt from legal protection.

Rights Conferred by Copyright

Copyright law endows creators with a bundle of exclusive rights, comprising the authority to:

1. Reproduce the work.

2. Generate derivative works based on the original.

3. Distribute copies of the work to the public.

4. Publicly perform or display the work.

For instance, if an author pens a book, they retain copyright over that literary work and wield all the exclusive rights enumerated above. Nevertheless, anyone desiring to employ the book in these specified ways must first secure permission from the author to avoid infringing upon their copyright privileges.


Copyright Infringement

Civil Remedies for Copyright Infringement in India

Copyright infringement is a serious violation of intellectual property rights, and the Copyright Act of 1957 offers civil remedies to safeguard these rights.

Interlocutory Injunctions

An interlocutory injunction is a potent legal tool that provides immediate relief to the copyright owner who is suffering ongoing harm due to the infringement. It allows the copyright owner to halt the infringing activity while legal proceedings are ongoing, providing them with an opportunity to pursue other remedies, including seeking monetary damages.

Prerequisites for Interlocutory Injunctions

To secure an interlocutory injunction in a copyright infringement case, the plaintiff must typically satisfy three key requirements:

1. Prima facie case: The plaintiff must demonstrate a strong likelihood of success in the case. This entails providing evidence of ownership of a valid copyright and potential infringement by the defendant.

2. Balance of convenience: The court evaluates the potential harm to both parties and decides whether granting the injunction favors the plaintiff or is more detrimental to the defendant. Factors considered include the impact on business operations, potential damage to reputation, and financial consequences.

3. Irreparable harm: The plaintiff must establish that they would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted. This implies that monetary damages alone cannot adequately compensate for the harm. In copyright infringement cases, such harm might include damage to the creator's reputation, market share, or artistic integrity.

Anton Piller Order

The Anton Piller order, named after a notable legal case, empowers a copyright owner in a copyright infringement case to obtain a court order authorizing entry into the defendant's premises to inspect and gather evidence to support their claim. To obtain this order, the plaintiff must demonstrate a valid cause of action and establish that they have suffered damages. Specific evidence supporting their case against the defendant must also be presented.

It is crucial to note that an Anton Piller order is not equivalent to a search warrant and does not grant unrestricted access to the defendant's premises. Rather, it allows for a limited inspection and preservation of evidence. Typically, this order is used in conjunction with injunctions to prevent the defendant from moving assets outside the court's jurisdiction.

Mareva Injunction

The Mareva injunction is a legal tool employed by courts when there is suspicion that a defendant is attempting to obstruct the execution of a court order. In such cases, the court can direct the defendant to place their assets, or a portion of them, under the court's control to ensure compliance with the court's order. This mechanism is governed by Order XXXVIII, Rule 5 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), 1908.

Pecuniary Damages

Under the Copyright Act of 1957, copyright owners have three options for seeking compensation when their work has been used without authorization:

1. Account of profits: The copyright owner may seek an amount equivalent to the earnings the infringing party obtained from using their work.

2. Compensatory damages: The copyright owner can request monetary compensation to redress the harm caused by the infringement.

3. Conversion damages: The copyright proprietor can claim the value of the work that was used without authorization.

Norwich Pharmacal Order

A Norwich Pharmacal Order is a legal instrument that enables a person or organization to obtain information from someone who possesses it, even if that person is unwilling to share it. This is typically employed when the person with the information has engaged in wrongful activities, such as copyright infringement, and the information is essential to substantiate the case.

Criminal Remedies

The Copyright Act of 1957 provides several criminal remedies for copyright infringement in India, including:

1. Imprisonment for a minimum of 6 months up to a maximum of 3 years.

2. A fine ranging from no less than 50,000 to a maximum of 2,00,000.

3. Search and seizure of infringing goods.

4. The copyright owner's right to demand the delivery of these goods.


The court can provide these remedies to the owner of a copyrighted work upon establishing that their work has been copied or used without permission. These remedies may encompass injunctions to halt infringing activities, compensation for damages incurred, and the delivery or destruction of infringing copies of the work.

However, in cases involving architectural copyright infringement, owners of architectural designs may find their legal remedies limited under copyright law.

Administrative Remedies for Copyright Infringement in India

Administrative remedies for copyright owners are applicable in cases of infringement through importation. In such instances, copyright owners can approach the Registrar of Copyrights and submit a petition to prohibit the importation of infringing copies into India, preventing the sale of these infringing goods within the country.

Furthermore, if infringing copies have already been imported, copyright owners can request the confiscated copies for their possession, thereby effectively preventing the sale of infringing copies within India and safeguarding their intellectual property rights.

Fair Dealing

The fair dealing defense is a crucial aspect of copyright law. It permits specific uses of literary works that might otherwise constitute copyright infringement. The aim of this defense is to prevent hindrance to creativity, which copyright law is intended to foster.

Section 52 of the Copyright Act in India outlines the concept of fair dealing as a defense against claims of copyright infringement. However, the Act does not offer a precise definition of fair dealing, and Indian courts often rely on English authorities for guidance.

Connect with an expert lawyer for your legal issue


India's Copyright Act of 1957 provides a robust framework for protecting intellectual property rights, offering a range of civil, criminal, and administrative remedies for copyright infringement. From interlocutory injunctions to criminal penalties, copyright owners have an array of tools to safeguard their creative works. The Anton Piller orders and Mareva injunctions, reflects a commitment to addressing infringement effectively. Additionally, the recognition of fair dealing emphasizes the delicate balance between creators' rights and the broader societal need for creative expression. Overall, the legal landscape in India encourages creativity while ensuring stringent measures against unauthorized use of copyrighted works.

Did you find this write up useful? YES 0 NO 0

C2RMTo Know More

Something Awesome Is In The Work









Sign-up and we will notify you of our launch.
We’ll also give some discount for your effort :)

* We won’t use your email for spam, just to notify you of our launch.

SAARTHTo Know More

Launching Soon : SAARTH, your complete client, case, practise & document management SAAS application with direct client chat feature.

If you want to know more give us a Call at :+91 98109 29455 or Mail