Author: Shruti Gupta, 3BA LLB(Hons.), Christ (Deemed to be University) Delhi- NCR


This article gives an analytical study about the emerging copyright issues faced by the individuals in the progressing digital world and how the legal system adapts changes in the digital age. It focuses on how with the  growing need of digitalisation, individuals forget to take authorization from the copyright owners. This study includes case analysis and the ratio of emerging copyright issues in India. It also includes the concept of copyright, its historical development, and the challenges faced by the country due to digitalisation. The advent of digital networks and platforms has made it possible for knowledge to be shared quickly and easily, which has caused major disruptions. It looks ahead with the growing needs of the society with new technologies such as AI, blockchain, which introduces promising results in copyright protection as well as introduces challenges.


Digitalization has yielded beneficial consequences globally; yet, improper utilisation of this technology is also fostering disorder and illicit behaviour. The copyright is the most infringed by an intellectual property right. In the digital age, copyright protection has emerged as a critical concern. Copyright refers to the unique legal right to publish, sell, or transmit the subject matter and format of something (such a work of art, music, or literature). It is an intellectual property right and applies to software and computer programs. It provides protection to the authors for maintaining privacy and security of their work and creations and in return expects to get rewards. It is a legal concept that gives the owner of the work unique rights to that work for some period of time and allows them to earn profit financially from their works. It can be acquired by a person having ownership rights or an agent who is permitted to act on behalf of the creator. According to Section 14 of the Act, the owner of copyright is granted a collection of exclusive rights, collectively referred to as copyright. Digital data may be swiftly searched, compactly stored, precisely reproduced for preservation, and instantly accessed from anywhere in the globe. Copyright laws are facing significant challenges due to the advent of new technologies such as networks, digital libraries, electronic publications, software advances, satellite communication, wireless technologies, etc.

 India’s copyright laws have their origins in ancient times, when scribes copied and archived writings on palm leaves. The British colonial era is when India’s copyright laws first came into existence. However, the Bombay High Court declared the Copyright Act of the United Kingdom to be applicable in India in the case of McMillan v. Khan Bahadur Shamsul Ulama Zaka (1895- ILR Bom 557) before the British adopted the copyright legislation in India. The Copyright Act of 1847, which was largely based on the U.K. The Copyright Act of 1842, was the country’s first copyright statute. 


Copyright protection has been experiencing challenges due to digital storage and distribution technology. Modern technologies have implications for copyright law, for example, in terms of ease of duplication and distribution. One of Copyright’s most difficult challenges to date has been the Internet.

The level of copyright protection varies based on the information found online. Copyrighted works on the internet include, among other things, news, articles, scripts, photos, graphics, and videos. Determining whether a work is a copy or a duplicate of a protected work can be difficult because of the abundance of information available online. A common misperception is that content found in the public domain on the internet may be freely copied. As more and more people are aware of copyright rights, businesses and the internet are changing daily. Despite this, prospective infringers and hackers are nonetheless motivated to try to invade other people’s property or breach people’s privacy.


In the larger context, amplification of protection might be provided given that the internet now provides multimedia performances through films, music, and videos in addition to cinematic works. This is also because electronic devices may change and deform actor images and voices. One example of this is morphing, which is just the changing of one image into another. The accessible nature of counterfeit copies of films before their official release worries the business. With digital interactive television (the iTV platform), viewers may pause and replay live TV and record shows by actor or genre using their personal recorders.


Social media platforms are increasingly being used as global communication tools. These websites facilitate the sharing of works that may be subject to intellectual property laws. The practice of sharing images and other types of material on social media has led to violations of copyright. One of the main causes of these infringements is the false perception that all content posted on social networking platforms is public domain. This misconception stems from a lack of knowledge regarding the copyright status of this type of content. On social networking sites, copyright violations might include the following: Disseminating keeping, or redistributing material protected by copyright is not permitted


Photographs are considered “creative work” under the Copyrights Act of 1957, Section 2(c)(i). In India, copyright registration is not required, but it is advised as it is recognised by the courts as a “proof of ownership.”The ability to right-click and save an image has made photo theft incredibly simple in the era of the internet. The proprietors of these images have faced a significant battle since their original artworks are being utilised without permission.


Reverse engineering is defined as fair usage under Section 52 of the Indian Copyright Act, as amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012, which also lays out the legal framework for judicial discretion as a defence in India.It is not a violation of the work to treat responsibly any work that isn’t a software application for clandestine use, such as studying, criticising, or reviewing that work or any other work, reporting on market occurrences and current trends, or publishing a speech that was given in public.The interpretation of Section 52(a), infringement will not be perpetrated due to unintentional storage of any work in digital format for evident reasons described in the stated contract.


The Copyrights Act covers civil and criminal remedies for copyright infringement under Chapters XII and XIII, respectively. Restraining orders either temporary or permanent, compensation payments, account renditions, and the surrender and destruction of copies that violate copyright are examples of civil remedies. 

Additionally, legal remedies, such as the customs authority holding the offending items, may be given. Additionally, the Act stipulates that some copyright infringements may result in criminal penalties. According to Section 63, anyone who knowingly violates or aids in the violation of copyrights faces a minimum sentence of six months’ imprisonment, with the possibility of a three-year sentence, as well as a maximum fine of fifty thousand rupees, with the possibility of a two-year sentence. With the use of technology, copyright owners have developed efficient strategies to limit the use of their protected works in response to the ease with which works may be copied and distributed online.

Three categories may be used to group the most urgent copyright issues of the modern era:

(i) Computer software, databases, and multimedia projects are a few instances of completely new employment categories.

(ii) Studies related to broadcast streaming, digital replication, and distribution.

(iii) Issues with copyright administration and management in the digital age.

In the past, innovation in the visual industries has bred alternative methods of artistic invention that were later vulnerable to copyright protection. As a result, the development of photography gave rise to “photographs,” the introduction of analogue technology to “phonograms,” and the discovery of filmmaking to a whole new category of works that included films, cinematographic films, and so on. The rise in the usage of digital technology has also led to the creation of some unique new works, such databases, computer programmes, and multimedia content, which first raised questions about their copyright protection.

Software functions- A computer programme is a set of instructions that, when contained in machine-readable media, enable a computer to carry out a certain task. It can also suggest, carry out, or accomplish a particular function, purpose, goal, or conclusion through information processing. The most effective intellectual property rights framework for computer programming has been the subject of much debate within the international community for a considerable amount of time. There were arguments presented for and against copyright and patent laws, as well as for a novel way to secure computer programmes. The requirement that computer software, whether written in object code or raw, be protected as works of intellectual property was put into effect by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which was created after the Uruguay Round of global trade discussions.

Without a doubt, the broadcast will be kept as a literary masterpiece. Many questioned whether the content portion was protected, even in light of the Berne Convention’s compilation restrictions. Therefore, “Compilations of information as well as other materials that, as a result of this situation or organisation of underlying materials, comprise artistic works must be safeguarded as being as such, regardless of whether they be in computer-readable and perhaps another format,” was expressly stated in the TRIPS Agreement.


The old legal system has found it difficult to keep up with the internet’s explosive expansion. Around the world, regulations have been passed in response to the digital revolution. Neither the legislative nor the courts will be able to quickly put in place workable solutions. Nonetheless, the aforementioned issues with copyright in the digital sphere have been helped to be resolved by changes to current legislation and harmonisation for developed and developing nations. 

In case of UTV Software Communication Limited v. 1337X.To and Ors the Delhi High Court noted that there is no logical way to distinguish crimes committed virtually from crimes committed in the real world, and the Copyright Act does not make this distinction. As a result, the court found there was no distinction between digital copyright infringement and copyright infringement in the physical world.

The Delhi High Court, in Disney Enterprise Inc. and Ors. V. Kim Cartoon and Ors., prohibited the defendants from using the Internet to replicate, distribute, broadcast, or host any cinematographic work or show. This prevented copyright infringement and shielded the plaintiff and copyright owner from suffering harm. The John Doe Order is another relatively novel idea that Indian courts have embraced to combat computer piracy.

Employees of Tata Indicom were charged with attempting to hack the machine’s source code according to Section 65 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which was solely for use on Reliance Infocomm’s internet services, in the case of Syed Asifuddin and ors v. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr. This code alteration is, in fact, a criminal crime, according to the tribunal. The court held that a computer programme is a literary work protected by copyright under Section 2, 13 and 14, and that any infringement on the part of a computer programme is punishable under Section 63. However, the court explicitly said that the trial judge would make the decision once the material has been presented.


The complexity of copyright protection has increased due to digital advancements. Achieving balance between a minor infraction and an expensive prosecution, as well as the dangers of global litigation, is crucial. As technology advances, there is a growing need for worldwide protection, necessitating the transmission of copyrighted content between nations with the owner’s permission. A procedural framework for international litigation would be added to the existing fundamental legislation.

Further specific changes to the current law are required since the laws in India governing the copyright in “digital material,” which includes computer programmes and software, is inadequate and ineffective. The “digital media” goliaths now play a major role, and the legislation is inadequate once more. As technology and time progress, the digital world continues to grow and evolve, bringing with it ambiguity, new issues, and legal violations in new ways. The advent of digitization has undoubtedly promoted innovation and its effective dissemination among the general public, but it has also given rise to many concerns and anxieties around violation of the same. 

Despite efforts to adjust and adjust to new amendments and developments, the legal system remains a work in progress, both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, a great deal more may be done to defend the copyright owners’ rights if brilliant brains come together. The fight to maintain the expanding digital era free from criminality will never cease. However, difficulties are a necessary part of life.


  1.  Leading Cases of Intellectual Property Rights (
  2. Indian Copyright ACT 1957 as amended in 2012.

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