Critical analysis of the liability of internet service providers for copyright infringement

By Naveen Dahiya, Partner

“The changing facet of technology gives birth to various complicated issues in copyright law regarding online copyright infringement. The major issue is to strike a balance between the rights of the copyright holders and the liability of Internet Service Providers. The tension that exists between copyright holders and Internet Service Providers concerning the issue of online copyright infringement liability has been a subject of extensive debates worldwide. The major problem is the lack of clarity of law regarding the secondary liability of Internet Service Providers for online copyright infringement in various jurisdictions across the world. The object of the present paper is to comprehensively analyse the existing position on secondary liability in US and India.”

INTRODUCTION

Internet is a large network of linked computers whose operators co-operate to allow passing information among them.19Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are basically intermediaries which facilitate access to internet or worldwide web and related facilitates in accessing various services available on the internet. Internet is one of the major innovations of the 20thcentury. Internet provides easy worldwide access through its facilities like e-mail, file transfer, file sharing, chatting, downloading etc. These capabilities of internet have made it very easy for everyone to receive or disseminate text, images, sound, software or data from any corner of the world, with accuracy and without any substantial loss in the quality of work and allows to make multiple copies of a work available on the internet. 

The internet has revolutionized the dissemination of information by digitalizing the form of information. However, the same in some situations results in violation of copyrights. Copyright laws relate to electronic communications, that ‘there will be a copyright infringement when an individual copies a work held in electronic format without the authority of the copyright holder’.20Then the issue comes whether a service provider can be held liable for merely providing a platform to the primary infringer to infringe the copyright. As it is difficult to enforce the copyrights against individual internet users, now a days the copyright owners start filing suits against the Internet Service Providers on the basis of doctrine of secondary liability.21There are various issues involved in ascertaining the liability of ISPs for the activities done by its users.

 

Discalimer

By proceeding further, you the user acknowledge that you of your own accord wish to know more about UKCA and Partners (“UKCA”) for your own information and use. You further acknowledge that there has been no solicitation, invitation or inducement of any sort whatsoever from UKCA or any of its Employees, Associates, Partners or Attorneys to create an Attorney-Client relationship through this website. You further acknowledge having read and understood the terms and conditions as stated below:

This website is a resource for informational purposes only and is intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and up-to-date. UKCA does not warrant that the information contained on this webpage is accurate or complete, and hereby disclaims any and all liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.

UKCA further assumes no liability for the interpretation and/ or use of the information contained on this webpage, nor does it offer a warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. UKCA does not intend links from this site to other internet websites to be referrals to, endorsements of, or affiliations with the linked entities. UKCA is not responsible for, and makes no representations or warranties about the contents of Websites to which links may be provided from this Website.

This website is not intended to be a source of advertising or solicitation and the contents of the website should not be construed as legal advice. The reader should not consider this information to be an invitation for an attorney relationship and should not rely on information provided herein and should always seek the advice of competent counsel licensed to practice in the reader’s country/ state. Transmission, receipt or use of this website does not constitute or create a attorney-client relationship. No recipients of content from this website should act, or refrain from acting, based upon any or all of the contents of this page.

Furthermore, UKCA does not wish to represent anyone desiring representation based solely upon viewing this website or in a country/ state where this website fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that country/ state. Finally, the reader is warned that the use of Internet e-mail for confidential or sensitive information is susceptible to risks of lack of confidentiality associated with sending email over the Internet.