There’s one good piece of news if you’re thinking about suing a rival who plagiarised your intellectual property.  As it turns out, copyright infringement isn’t a trivial offence, as perceived by many of the general public.

The Supreme Court recently overturned a Delhi High Court decision, ruling that the crime under Section 63 of the Copyright Act (infringement of copyright) is a cognizable and non­bailable offence.

In M/s Knit Pro International Versus The State of NCT of Delhi & Anr., the Supreme Court bench ruled that copyright infringement is a cognizable and non-bailable offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act. The bench referred to Part II of the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code, titled “Classification of Offenses Against Other Laws” and noted that the punishment for the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act is imprisonment for a term not less than six months but not more than three years, as well as a fine.

Its worth emphasizing that The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 states that if an offence is penalised “by imprisonment for three years and upwards but not more than seven years and a fine not less than fifty thousand rupees but not less than two lakh rupees,” the offence is cognizable and non-bailable, but any offence penalised with imprisonment for less than three years is a non-cognizable offence. In such cases, the offence under Section 63 must be considered cognizable and non-bailable.

In light of this, the bench ordered that the offence committed under Sections 63 and 64 of the Copyright Act is to be prosecuted in line with the law and on its own merits, considering it as a cognizable and non­bailable offence.

Copyright infringements are unfortunate. Fraudulent actions are unacceptable, regardless of the reputation of infringer.  Hopefully, this verdict will shine greater emphasis on the significance of copyright and enable more copyright holders to address this immensely pervasive problem.


Mrudula Manappatt