The new millennium witnessed the technological revolution in every spectrum boosting up the economical standards of the country. The most reflective and operative area of technological advancement is in entertainment industry. Not only new methods and avenues were opened up but also the existing technology was upgraded to a great extent. On the other hand the technological advancement has immensely increased the scope for copying which has led to large-scale piracy in entertainment industry. In G. Buttan v. State & Anr. 2007 (34) PTC 636 (Del.) the Delhi High Court observed:
"The courts cannot remain oblivious to fast spreading tentacles of piracy. Piracy in relation to cinematograph films tends to strike a crippling blow on entire film industry, which, in turn, seriously jeopardizes the national economy. Growing tendency of unscrupulous elements, having scant respect of legal regimen of the subject necessitated a re-look on penal provisions aimed at fighting the menace of piracy way back in the year 1984."
Similarly the grave concern of the Parliament in enacting provisions for enhanced punishment for piracy finds it expression in the Statement of Objects and Reasons to the Copyright (Amendment) Act 65 of 1984 which states as under:
"Piracy has become a global problem due to the rapid advances in technology. It has assumed alarming proportion all over the world and all the countries are trying to meet the challenge by taking stringent legislative and enforcement measures."
In the aforesaid case it was found out from a secret source that a piracy racket was being operated by G. Buttan, the Petitioner who was making, and selling pirated copies of several films on video compact disk, video cassettes, digital versatile disk, laser disk etc. Based on the information, the Police conducted a search and seizure operation at Buttan’s business premises and a number of pirated copies were seized in the raid. The Police also seized duplicating equipments from Buttan’s possession worth millions of rupees having production capacity of burning 20,000 CDs a day. The Police arrested Buttan and his accomplices under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957 and registered criminal cases against them. Buttan applied for bail before the Metropolitan Magistrate and the Courts of Session, which were rejected leading him to file the present application before the Delhi High Court under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In the bail plea, the petitioner contented that he was performing job works based on the orders of several companies and that he was ignorant of the fact that his acts amounted to violation of copyright laws. The Petitioner also pleaded and cited several case laws where the bail was granted to the accused persons who remained in the confinement of custody for over 40 days. The Petitioner also argued that since the maximum punishment for copyright violation is three years imprisonment therefore, his confinement in custody for over 45 days before initiation of trial was unjustified. The prosecution opposed the bail application on the ground that the investigation was at a crucial stage and the investigative agency were to find out the correctness of the accused statement that he was performing the job work for others. The investigative agency was verifying these facts from the names given by the accused person; hence the release of petitioner would hamper the further investigation. The court held that since the petitioner had failed to supply complete information to the investigators, there was a prima facie case against him and refused the bail application.
The case highlights the stringent steps the courts have started taking to curb the menace of piracy. It was pointed out by the court that over two decades have gone by since the penal provisions has been incorporated in the Copyright laws but that the amendments had not yielded the desired result. The Court through the present case suggested for the incorporation of more stringent and deterrent legislative measures.
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