Thursday, September 11, 2008

India - United States - Copyright Treaty [Intellectual Property]

Protections granted under the Indian Copyright Act apply to U.S. citizens just as it applies to Indian nationals. The current Indian Copyright Act entered into force in 1957 but it is based on the 1911 Copyright Act, which in turn was based on United Kingdom copyright laws. Traditional international copyright principles are part of the Indian copyright legislation. For instance, India grants automatic copyright protection (no registration is required) to literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, computer software, and cinematograph films and sound recordings for sixty years- some term variations apply. Even though copyrights are automatic, authors may register their works in the Copyrights Register maintained by the Copyright Office of the Department of Education. Ideas are not protected under Indian copyright law nor are titles or names, short word combinations, slogans, short phrases, methods, news, and plots or factual information. To receive protection, works must be original; the joint authorship concept is recognized; and copyrights may be assigned for 5 year if no other time-limit is set. Usually, the author is the owner of the copyrighted work; the government is considered the author of government works. An author is the creator, composer, producer, or photographer -depending on the case, - of the work. In the case of employment-related works under contract of service or apprenticeships, the employer will be the copyright owner unless otherwise provided. Translations are afforded copyright protection just as the original work provided that they are authorized by the author of the original work. Computer programs are protected under Indian law as literary works, and their authors enjoy the right to sell, offer to sell, or give on hire "regardless of whether such a copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasion." In general, foreign works mentioned on the International Copyright Order are protected in India as well.
As opposed to the U.S., India grants protection of moral rights. This means, infringement exists when a copyrighted work is distorted, mutilated, modified and these or similar acts affect the author's honor or reputation. Moral rights remain with the author even after the author's death or assignment of the work.

India is signatory to the following international copyright agreements- this means U.S. citizens enjoy the rights and privileges afforded by these international agreements adopted by the Indian legislature,- (a) the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic works; (b) the Universal Copyright Convention; (c) the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms; (d) Multilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Copyright Royalties; and (e) the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Indian International Copyright Order grants protection to foreign works from the following 116 countries. Indian protection of foreign works from these countries is relevant for U.S. businesses registered under the laws of any of them. E.g. if a U.S. business registered in St. Kitts & Nevis produces a copyrighted work and outsources some activity related to this work to India, India is going to protect that work as a foreign work. The International Copyright Order includes Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzogovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica , Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia , Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras ,Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania , Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname ,Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Mattel blocks 'Scrabulous' in India [Intellectual Property]

The networking site, Facebook, has restricted the popular “add-on” application, ‘Scrabulous’ to most users. Mattel Inc. owns Scrabble rights outside Canada and the United States of America and had approached the Indian courts in February 2008, seeking an order for taking down Scrabulous from Facebook and other servers.

The brothers, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, and their web-design and technology company, R J Software, were previously served a lawsuit by game-making giant Hasbro Inc., owner of Scrabble rights in Canada and the U.S. , at a New York federal court for violating its copyright and trademarks. Hasbro also sent a notice demanding that Facebook remove the application from the site. “Facebook took the unfortunate decision to restrict most users from accessing Scrabulous on August 22, in response to a ‘take down notice’ from Mattel on August 14,” said Mr. Jayant.

Mr. Jayant said, “The High Court had reserved judgement in this matter after hearing both parties. It surprises us that Mattel chose to direct Facebook to take down Scrabulous without waiting for the High Court’s decision.” He also sounded disappointed with Facebook as he said, “It is even more astonishing that Facebook, which claims to be fair and neutral party, took the step even though they were fully aware of the circumstances under which the Mattel letter was sent.”

“We now await the decision of the High Court and shall accordingly decide our future course of action regarding Scrabulous,” Mr. Jayant asserted.