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Anti Piracy laws in India
In India, the copyright of computer software is protected under the Indian Copyright Act of 1957. Copyright protection for software with an individual author lasts for the duration of the author's life and continues 60 years after the author's death. Government agencies such as the Ministry of Information Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development have played an active role in aiding the Indian law enforcement authorities in protecting software copyright holders.

Copyright Eligibility

  • An original software work does not have to be published in order to receive copyright protection. As soon as the piece of software is committed to a tangible medium, it automatically receives protection under Indian copyright law. However, authors of software have the option of registering their original work with the Copyright Office. Registration of software with the Copyright Office is not a requirement for receiving copyright protection, but it can be helpful in an infringement suit where proof of original authorship may be required.

Definition of Software Piracy in India

  • According to Nasscom, software piracy involves the use, reproduction or distribution without having received the expressed permission of the software author. Software piracy comes in four common forms. The first is end user piracy, and it occurs when users of software install the software on more machines than they are entitled to under their license agreements. The second is hard disk loading, and it occurs when computer dealers install illegal copies of software onto computers prior to their sale. The third is software counterfeiting, and it involves the illegal reproduction, and subsequent sale of software in a form that is nearly identical to the original product. The fourth is Internet piracy, and it occurs when individuals place unauthorized copies of software on the Internet for download.


  • Under the Indian Copyright Act, a software pirate can be tried under both civil and criminal law. The minimum jail term for software copyright infringement is seven days, and the maximum jail term is three years. Statutory fines range from a minimum of 50,000 to a maximum of 200,000 rupees.


  • Indian courts can take a variety of measures designed to grant relief to copyright holders whose rights have been infringed. One of these measures is ordering that all infringing copies--including master copies--be impounded and destroyed. Another way that courts grant relief to copyright holders is through monetary compensation, which can consist of monetary damages, statutory damages, court costs and attorney fees.


  • Nasscom: IPR Law in India

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