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Emerging trends in Digital copyright law



With the rapidly growing technology industry, the usefulness of copyright is growing at the same pace. Copyright is the most important piece of legislature when it comes to protecting technological advancements. Some people also refer to copyright as the legacy of technology. It has undergone deliberate adjustments in order to safeguard the public interest in creativity, invention, and resourcefulness, taking into account the nature, scope, and domain of technology concerned. Its fundamental goal is to give suitable incentives to authors and creators of various copyright works on the one hand, while also making such works accessible to the general public on the other.

The balance that has to be maintained by copyright to award the people coming up with inventions and to make the inventions accessible to the public at large. And with the development of technology, this has become rather a difficult task as now any information is available to whoever is looking for it at just one click. As the internet allows for near-instantaneous, high-quality reproduction of copyrighted content as well as worldwide, lightning-fast distribution.

Digital Technology

One of the most significant technological advances in recent years has been digitization. The process of turning compositions into a machine-readable language is referred to as this. Digitization refers to the capability to record compositions in a binary format (a series of ones and zeros) that can be preserved and disseminated.

On a global scale, digital technology is the most modern phenomenon in the sector. The development, transmission, and safeguarding of copyright works have all been influenced by digital media. Because of digitization, manipulating, reproducing, and distributing protected works has never been easier.The Internet is heralding in yet another time in the digital Age, which is the emblem of the present century, and this crossroads are a pivotal point in the vast and chaotic history of copyright in several ways.It’s simple to combine, change, mix, and manipulate digital stuff. Digital technology risks disrupting distribution channels and promote the unlawful use of intellectual works by enabling for the low-cost fabrication of exact copies of copyrighted works.

Copyright issues emerging due to digitization

The foregoing characteristics of the Internet distinguish it as “the world’s largest copy machine.” By definition, the puzzles and inconsistencies that underpin the digital dilemma are linked to the tension between the assumption that “information wants to be free” and fears about stronger authorized control of changes in the digital environment.

In 1998, the Indian government passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which revised copyright regulations to reflect current realities in digital technology. The global recognition of the necessity for a Digital Copyright Law has grown in tandem with the advancement and development of technology, particularly digitization.

As a result, the current Copyright legislation was updated, as the trend of keeping records in the form of digital data obviously necessitates protection, a requirement that can be felt all over the world.

The recent amendments in Copyright Law

Fair dealing[1] exemptions, like as use for educational purposes, that were previously solely available to only certain types of work, such as literary, theatrical, and musical works, have now been extended to all types of work.

The broadcasting of current events, including the coverage of a public lecture, has been granted a fair dealing exception. Previously, the exception of fair dealing was confined to:

  • Either personal or private purposes, which also includes research;
  • Whether of this same work or any other work, critique or assessment.

Furthermore, if any, work is stored in any electronic means for the purposes indicated in this section, including the concomitant storage of any computer program that is not a duplicate copy, does not constitute infringement.

The temporary and inadvertent storage of a work or presentation for the purpose of enabling electronic linkages, admission, or connection, unless the person who is responsible is cognizant or has reasonable grounds to believe that such preservation is of an infringing copy:Provided, however, that if the person in charge of storing a copy receives a dispute from which any person has been banned, he may demand that such person provide an order from the appropriate court within fourteen days for the continuous prevention of such storage.

If the library already has a nondigital copy of the work, the storing of a work in any medium by microelectronic means for conservation by a noncommercial public library; Manufacturing a three-dimensional thing from a two-dimensional creative piece, such as a technical sketch, for industrial submittal of any solely functional portion of a useful equipment.

International trends in Digital Copyright

Countries all throughout the world have aided the copyright protection by responding amicably to international accords on a regular basis. These treaties provide minimal standards of protection, which each signatory country is incorporated into their local legislation.

  1. Berne Convention– It is considered the first step towards protection of copyright. It was signed in 1886 at Berne, Switzerland. It established basic protection requirements based on three principles: the principle of national treatment, the principle of automatic protection, and the policy of protection independence.
  • TRIPS- It accommodates bernes and other conventions in it. It states that copyright protection only applies to phrases, not ideas, techniques, methods of operation, or mathematical concepts in general.Article 10 of the agreement discusses the copyright protection of computer programs and data compilations as literary works.
  • WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY, 1996– In December 1996, the Diplomatic Conference in Geneva adopted the WIPO Copyright Treaty, which went into effect in 2002. It is a specific arrangement established under the Berne Convention to preserve copyright and author rights in a digital world.

Copyright protection is mentioned in the WCT for two subjects:

  • computer programs, in whatever shape or style of expression they take; and
  • Data or other material, compilations (“databases”), in any form, that are intellectual works due to the selection or arrangement of their contents.

In contrast to the TRIPs agreement, the WCT agreement covers both object code and source code as computer programs.


It is undeniable that technological innovation has aided creators in developing and presenting their works more effectively, but it has also presented a threat to the works’ secure communication and publication. The internet’s limitlessness outperformed the regulations.

However, various efforts have been made at the national and international levels to overcome adversity posed by the internet and other technological instruments to copyright protection in cyberspace. While it is undeniable that copyright laws protect copyrighted material, and recent modifications have brought them closer to parity, there is still a need to address flaws.

In the current circumstances, close collaboration with international organizations is required, as is a society that is aware of copyright and its regulations, as well as a positive relationship with the judiciary.


Contributed by:– Nidhi Jha, Legal intern at LLL

 amendments in Copyright LawCopyright issues emerging due to digitizationDigital copyright lawInternational trends in Digital Copyright

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