Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jurisdictional Issues Of Copyright Law Of India

In a landmark case, Justice S.N. Dhingra of the Delhi High Court has expressed concerns regarding the evasive techniques adopted by many litigants to invoke the original jurisdiction of High Courts. This negates jurisdiction to the courts that actually have to try the case. The court also suggested to the government to bring an amendment in the Copyright Act to remove the discussed anomaly so that the big companies would not take advantage of it. However, experts believe that the current Copyright law of India may pose a contradiction against the observations made vis-à-vis jurisdictional aspects discussed in the case.

Justice S.N. Dhingra of the Delhi High Court has asked Microsoft Corporation to shell out Rs.800,000 ($16,000) for choosing to fight four copyright violation cases in the Indian capital even though they originated in other cities. Microsoft said it was fighting the cases in Delhi as it has its office in the national capital. But the court told Microsoft if it wanted the cases to be heard here, it would have to deposit a sum of Rs.200,000 per case - as a cost security.

This case has raised a very important question of law and it would be interesting to know the further development of the same on Jan 18 next year. This is so because some of the observations of the court are going against the express and settled position of the copyright law of India.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the leading authority on “jurisdictional issues” of copyright law in India, “Although the intention of the court is benign and justice oriented yet whether it is fully correct or not is still debatable. This is because the relevant section of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 has received a different and contrary interpretation not only by the Delhi High Court itself but also by the Supreme Court of India. However, every case depends upon its own facts and circumstances and the facts of the present case only would decide the fate of this case, says Dalal”.

The jurisdictional issue of copyright violation is a very crucial issue and it needs not only finality but also uniformity. The present observations of the court have raised few interesting and novel questions and they would go a long way in shaping the jurisdictional issues of copyright law in India.