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Administering the Copyright Act, 1957 (File referring to external site opens in a new window) , one of the several legislations in India in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) (External website that opens in a new window), is the responsibility of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Secondary and Higher Education. The Copyright Office was established in January 1958 to register copyright of works under different categories. As per Section 33 of the Copyright Act, the Central Government also registers copyright societies for doing copyright business. The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 was comprehensively amended in 1994 taking into account the technological developments. The amended Act was brought into force on 10 May 1995. The Act as further amended in 1999, came into force on 15 January 2000. Under the provisions of Section 11 of the Copyright Act, 1957, the Government of India has constituted a Board to be called the Copyright Board. The Copyright Board is a quasi-judicial body consisting of a Chairman and not less than two or more than fourteen other members. The Chairman and other members of the Board are appointed for a term of five years. The Copyright Board was reconstituted for a term of five years with effect from 22 February 2001. The Board hears cases regarding rectification of copyright registration, disputes in respect of assignment of copyright and granting licenses in works withheld from public.

Copyright Enforcement in India

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957, provides penalties for the offences committed under the Copyright Act and empowers the police to take necessary action. The actual enforcement of the law is the concern of the State Governments. However, during the last few years, the Central Government has taken various steps to improve the enforcement of the Copyright Act to curb piracy. These measures include the setting up of a Copyright Enforcement Advisory Council (CEAC), which has as its members from all concerned departments and representatives of industry to regularly review the implementation of the Copyright Act including the provisions regarding anti-piracy. Several other measures taken by the Central Government include, persuading the State Government for:

  • the setting up of Special Cells in State Governments for enforcement of Copyright Laws
  • appointment of nodal officers in the States for facilitating proper coordination between the industry organisations and enforcement agencies
  • holding of seminars/workshops, etc., for sensitising the public about Copyright Laws
  • Collective Administration by Copyright Societies.

Cooperation with WIPO

India is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) (External website that opens in a new window), a specialised agency of the United Nations which deals with copyright and other Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and plays an important role in all its deliberations. As per recent amendments in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 the work relating to coordination with WITO has been transferred to Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (External website that opens in a new window).

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

The last round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 gave rise to multilateral agreement on Trade under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) (External website that opens in a new window). Prior to emergence of the WTO, there was no multilateral agreement on services. The WTO came into existence on 1 January 1995. The next round of negotiations in 1996 led to a comprehensive agreement on international trade in services. The objective of the agreement is the progressive liberalisation of trade in services. It is to provide secure and more open market in services in a manner similar as the GATT has done for trade in goods. Education is one of the twelve services, which are to be negotiated under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Education has been divided into five categories for the purposes of Negotiations: Higher Education, Secondary Education, Primary Education, Adult Education and Other Education.

GATS prescribes the following four modes of Trade in Services including Education Services:

  • Cross-Border Supply of a service includes any type of course that is provided through distance education or the internet, any type of testing service, and educational materials which can cross national boundaries
  • Consumption Abroad mainly involves availing services abroad, i.e., students going abroad and is the most common form of trade in educational services
  • Commercial Presence refers to the actual presence of foreign investors in a host country. This would include foreign universities setting up courses or entire institutions in another country and
  • Presence of Natural Persons refers to the ability of people to move between countries to provide educational services.

Under Education Services the Indian revised offer was to open up the Higher Education Sector with the condition that Higher Education Institutions can be permitted to charge fees to be fixed by an appropriate authority provided such fees do not lead to charging capitation fees or to profiteering. The provision of the Higher Education Services would also be subject to such regulations, already in place or to be prescribed by the appropriate regulatory authority.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 19-01-2011