At an overview, Intellectual Property law relates to the establishment and protection of intellectual creations such as inventions, brands, artwork, music, or designs. The rights here, are established, protected, enforced, and promoted through means of patents, trademarks, copyright and design. Patents are generally for things such as technical inventions, trademarks for goods and services, copyrights for music, art and literature, while designs for products and logos.
Looking from the perspective of India, the narrative around IP is quite complex. India has improved its IP score by 13% by 2022, but it still ranks 43 out of the 55 countries as per the International IP Index, 2022. There lies a major impetus on innovation and promotion of art and culture, and protection of these inventions. In context to our creative industry, we lag in protection of our designs. During the pandemic, there has been a big surge in pirated content. The rate of music piracy in India has remained higher than the global average at 68%, as reported by the Indian Music Industry, the global average lies at 30%. On the other hand, reports have also suggested that the Indian demand for pirated content may be double or triple the global average. As a resultant, the same will not just affect India’s position on the global IP rankings, but also pose a threat to the work of creators and other innovations.
In recent times, the problem has significantly increased. Reports regarding theft, design misuse and copyright infringement has increased. Adding to all this, the present laws such as the copyright act 1957, presents with a lot of ambiguities and loopholes, drawing major concerns. Lack of effective IP laws has led to instances of content theft and copyright infringements- a problem which has become exaggerated with increasing internet and smartphone penetration. The leaking of content on unofficial platforms, or prior to official release, has also caused significant loss in revenue for producers and artists. Despite nationalised IP laws formulated in 2016, there are a lot of loopholes and ambiguities which increase the risk threshold for creators and producers.
A report in 2021 highlighted that the highest searches for pirated content pertained to movies, TV shows, music, software, and publishing, ranks India at third position, after the United States and Russia. If we look at the bigger perspective, the loss in revenue, caused due to copyright infringement and thefts can also lead to loss in livelihood of people. It will also steal the artist’s credit and hard work. Additionally, research conducted by the US-India Business Council witnessed that the Indian film industry has experienced an 11% loss in employment due to piracy alone in the recent years. It also leads to a decline in revenue estimates. Intellectual Property Rights and setting up a legal framework thus, must be prioritised and enacted on to ensure that content creation is empowered, yet protected from digital risks such as piracy.
To tackle the rising menace, the government has been taking a serious approach to provide better protection to its artists and entrepreneurs. From formulating newer IPR laws, checking on enforcement, government authorities have ramped up efforts to create a strong IPR framework. The National IPR policy (2016) has been crafted in a means to stimulate creation of IPRs and ensure an effective ecosystem for redressal and streamlining of IP-related processes. The creation of the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), by the ministry of commerce and setting up of cyber digital crime units are right measures to overlook grievances in cyberspace. The cornerstone laid down by National IPR policy and the efforts made by DPIIT (department of promotion of industry and internal trade) have helped increase the filing of IP patents in the country as well. The state and central government can also look at issuing FTAs or asserting trade pacts to ensure greater enforcement of content infringement and provide protection for the creative industry present here.
If innovation is to be advanced, IPR policies and copyright laws must be effectively enforced across industries. It is important that the government strikes a delicate balance by checking on effective implementation of the existing laws and floating newer incentives and laws that keep infringement under check and do not cause a revenue loss.
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