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India’s Digital Copyright Reform Plan For Digital Locks

The SpicyIP Blog provides a helpful review of India's proposed digital copyright reforms. The Indian government unveiled the reforms late last year, announcing that the amendments would bring the country into conformity with the WIPO Internet Treaties. India is a leading copyright producing country, with "Bollywood" currently one of the world's major film centres. The Indian approach to digital locks is very similar to the proposals from those supporting fair copyright in Canada.  The anti-circumvention provision states:

(1) Any person who circumvents an effective technological measure applied for the purpose of protecting any of the rights conferred by this Act, with the intention of infringing such rights, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall prevent any person from:
(a) doing anything referred to therein for a purpose not expressly prohibited by this Act:

Provided that any person facilitating circumvention by another person of a technological measure for such a purpose shall maintain a complete record of such other person including his name, address and all relevant particulars necessary to identify him and the purpose for which he has been facilitated; or
(b) doing anything necessary to conduct encryption research using a lawfully obtained encrypted copy; or
(c) conducting any lawful investigation; or
(d) doing anything necessary for the purpose of testing the security of a computer system or a computer network with the authorization of its owner or operator; or
(e) doing anything necessary to circumvent technological measures intended for identification or surveillance of a user; or
(f) taking measures necessary in the interest of national security.

There are two key points here:  First, the provisions link circumvention to copyright infringement since the law is limited to the intention of infringing rights and states that the anti-circumvention provision does not prevent any person from circumventing for a purpose permitted by the law. For greater certainty, the law includes several permitted reasons to circumvent. Second, there is no ban on the distribution of circumvention devices as found in the DMCA but not required by WIPO. 

This WIPO-compliant approach seeks to preseve copyright balance and should be considered carefully by Canadian officials as a potential model (Canada is currently working on an economic trade agreement with India).  

13 Comments

  1. Awesome
    I like this. This would be a proper solution for us, I think. It’s about time a government somewhere out there recognizes what is reasonable.

  2. Two years jail time? For making a back-up? Plus a fine?

  3. MousierLibre says:

    What about transferring platforms? What about centralizing my BluRays to my media server?

    What about when Apple goes bankrupt again and their DRM servers stop working?

    Leaves a lot of unanswered questions for the consumer.

    Additionally good luck with enforcing. Who decrypted and when? I don’t know whats on the harddrive? Maybe my son put on there, maybe my daughter. All I know is I did not commit the act of decryption.

    Want to make more money Hollywood and not worry about piracy?

    $ 15 / month all you can eat video with no BS restrictions. No one will bother to decrypt or pirate if you make it easy enough. Plus you wont have to worry about those greasy middlemen.

    Then spend your time suing the ISP’s for their absurd caps stating its anticompetitive with your service. Everyone wins, except for the cable companies. They’ve outlived their relevance anyhow!

  4. “with the intention of infringing such rights”

    So… so long as we don’t set out to profit from the files, we can do what we like for personal use?

  5. Chris Brand says:

    profit
    @Bob – infringing copyrights has nothing to do with whether you set out to profit or not. For example, in Canada making a backup copy of a DVD is infringing, even for personal use, hence with this sort of provision, circumventing CCS in order to backup a DVD would be punishable by up to two years in prison plus a fine.

  6. @Chris Brand

    ” For example, in Canada making a backup copy of a DVD is infringing, even for personal use, hence with this sort of provision, circumventing CCS in order to backup a DVD would be punishable by up to two years in prison plus a fine.”

    Perhaps. But (always) look on the bright side ūüėČ This way, there’s no firing squad to face.

    Seriously though, this whole “copying something even if it is just for backup is worse than manslaughter” business is wearing a bit thin. It makes total mockery of treaties, laws and justice.

    My bet is that, come the revolution, those that help put Draconian laws and treaties into effect will need better invisibility skills than Bin Laden or Bush 43’s IQ.

  7. Last time I checked, backing up something for one’s own personal use is not generally considered to be showing any particular *intent* to deliberately infringe on copyright. Since they are proposing that the penalties only apply when intent to infringe is evident, it would seem that circumventing copy protection or encryption to back up you own DVD’s for your own private use would not be a punishable action by this act’s reading.

  8. btrussell says:

    “Last time I checked, backing up something for one’s own personal use is not generally considered to be showing any particular *intent* to deliberately infringe on copyright.”

    Last time you checked. Can you show us where it states that in this new set of provisions?

  9. You are asking me to prove a negative assertion… I am saying that something is *NOT* there… that is, that private use copying is not considered an intent to infringe. If somebody can provide proof of the opposite, that is, private copying *IS* intent to infringe (not that it actually might be, but that it constitutes intent as well), then that would constitute a valid contradiction to my assertion.

  10. btrussell says:

    I am?
    “(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall prevent any person from:”

    I still don’t see “Making a Personal Back-up Copy.”

    I fit is NOT there then you cannot do so.

  11. Actually, the law generally works in exactly the opposite way… unless there is a law prohibiting it, then you can.

  12. As long as DRM circumvention, copyright, and duplicating digital media are lumped together in the same bill, I don’t see how anyone is ever going to be satisfied.

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