The history of copyright is the tale of how the law has adapted to technical advancements. There have been significant technological advancements since the Rome Convention in 1961 and the final amendment to the Berne Convention in 1971. The introduction of digital technology has repeatedly put a major strain on the copyright regime. The WIPO had established two committees of experts [Committee of Experts on a Possible Protocol to the Berne Convention in September 1991 and the Committee of Experts on a Possible Instrument for Protection of the Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms in September 1992] to examine the effects of new technologies on copyright and neighbouring rights. These Committees, after exhaustive discussions, in which India was an active participant, drafted basic proposals for three new treaties, that is-
- Treaty for Protection of Literary and Artistic Works;
- Treaty for Protection of the Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms; and
- Treaty on sui-generis protection for Databases.
The Conference adopted two treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The database treaty was deferred for further study.
Being a WIPO member and a party to the WCT (World Copyright Treaty) and WPPT, India has repeatedly revised its domestic legislation to be in line with international copyright standards. The Copyright (Amendment) Act of 1994 and the Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2012 serve as excellent examples of the sufficient degrees of advancement in Indian copyright laws that have been repeatedly seen.
The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012’s recognition of the performers’ rights under Section 38-A and the recognition of the performers’ moral rights under Section 38-B speak volumes about Indian jurisprudential thought and intellectual development in relation to the related rights in the area of copyrights.
The 50-year protection period offered by Indian law to phonogram performers and producers is in line with worldwide norms; the duration of the protection is not just adequate but also satisfactory. It is also a nice development that the period of protection for broadcasting reproduction rights has been increased from 20 to 25 years in the case of broadcasting organizations.
Since the passage of the Copyright (Amendment) Act in 1994 and the Copyright (Amendment) Act in 2012, India’s Broadcasting Reproduction Rights and Performers’ Rights have advanced significantly. In addition to the general-statutory and other economic rights, India has made a significant advance by focusing on and incorporating the idea of moral rights—that is, rights related to paternity and integrity—into its legal framework.
India is quickly catching up to its necessary credit, as in some countries, performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasters of copyrighted works are protected by copyright alongside authors, while in others, they are protected by neighbouring or related rights because of their role in distributing copyrighted works to the public as consumer goods.
What India is still to realize
- New media and technology give right holders new avenues for the distribution and exploitation of their works, especially online works, potentially opening up more chances for direct licensing. Systematic management of digital rights are intended to allow a greater range of terms and conditions for the use of those works while better distributing and protecting the right holder’s investment [however, India awoke to this realization and adopted Sections 65-A and 65-B by virtue of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012]. Increased market adoption of these systems is anticipated to expand consumer choice and availability of copyright works, such as digital software and entertainment products, and to permit price points that reflect the consumer’s actual use rather than an assumption that the consumer will use the product in a variety of formats. All of this must further copyrights as well as copyright-related rights, such as the rights to privacy and publicity.
- In the digital networked environment, creators and performers want assurances that their moral rights will be upheld, especially by third parties, and that their creations and performances won’t be unfairly influenced.
- Since the WIPO Internet Treaties negotiations began, audio visual performers have been calling for an upgrade to their legal status on a global scale. As a result, India should proactive begin pursuing this goal on a national level. India cannot afford to lose sight of the Rome Convention, which is now incorporated on a global level and seeks to update broadcasters’ rights in response to market changes and technical advancements.
Overall, India appears to be well-equipped to provide the allied-right-holders, such as performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasters, with the necessary protection. It is hoped that India will continue to advance and meet the challenges presented by the wave of digitalized, networked environments ‘head-on’.
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