A DMCA for India

In this post, I said that the Indian version of the DMCA was in the works. That view was based on this document (pdf) hosted by the HRD Ministry’s copyright website – the document lists out the various amendments that are proposed to be made to the Copyright Act of 1957 (pdf) and has remained unchanged for just over two years now. Two new subsections are going to be inserted under section 65, and they are as follows-

Section 65A. Protection of Technological Measures. –
(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.

Section 65 B. Protection of Rights Management Information. –
Any person, who knowingly
(i) removes or alters any rights management information without authority, or
(ii) distributes, imports for distribution, broadcasts or communicates to the public, without authority, copies of any work, or performance knowing that electronic rights management information has been removed or altered without authority, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine;
Provided that if the rights management information has been tampered with in any work, the owner of copyright in such work may also avail of civil remedies provided under Chapter XII of this Act against the persons indulging in such acts described above.

Section 65A(2)(e) is interesting in light of the new subsection that defines “Rights Management Information” – 2(xa)-

Section 2 (xa) “Rights Management Information”, means –
(i) the title or other information identifying the work or performance
(ii) the name of the author or performer;
(iii) the name and address of the owner of rights;
(iv) terms and conditions regarding the use of the rights; and
(v) any number or code that represents the above information;
but does not include any device or procedure intended to identify the user.

For a comprehensive review of all the proposed amendments, visit the Alternative Law Forum website and download the pdf document hosted by them. The document contains, among other things, an appendix that gives a brief account of the history of DMCA in the US and its ability to generate a “chilling effect.”

This is, as I said, an amendment that has been gathering dust for over two years now; which is why this ET article comes as a surprise-

The government plans to introduce a legislation empowering software makers in their fight against the sale of unauthorised copies of their products, as it looks to crack down on rampant piracy in the country where nearly three-fourths of the software used is pirated.

An amendment to the Copyright Act, which will be introduced in Parliament later this year, will make it illegal to break the security code of all kinds of software from operating systems and games to multimedia players, said a senior official with the commerce ministry, who asked not to be named.

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Comments

  • you12  On January 6, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    (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. (What does anything mean here?)

    Is it just me or do they deliberately write incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo?

    And government has effectively saved its ass from any persecution by (C) and (F).

    And who will this affect? The consumer or the piracy mafia? Recently in Ahmedabad, Police and some Adobe officials roamed the less affluent areas and threatened designers and photographers who were using pirated software to buy an original software otherwise the officials and the police threatened to take their CPU away.

    In a lawless country like ours, its better to have no laws then have any new laws.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On January 7, 2009 at 1:00 am

    “Is it just me or do they deliberately write incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo?”
    Its called legalese.

    “And who will this affect? The consumer or the piracy mafia?”
    DRM generally affects the legitimate consumer; the pirates have it easy, and they can nearly always break any system and sell it, or use it.
    The real danger lies in the “chilling effect” it has on a lot of legitimate activities. Read the appendix of the ALF document for more information.

    “In a lawless country like ours, its better to have no laws then have any new laws.”
    If you mean – “no law is better than bad law”, then I agree.

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