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Title: Liability of Internet Service Providers for Third Party Online Copyright Infringement: A Study of the US and Indian Laws
Authors: Kahandawaarachchi, Thilini
Keywords: Internet Service Provider (ISP);Internet;Subscriber;Third party;Copyright;Infringement;Digital Millennium Copyright Act;Safe harbour;Information Technology Act
Issue Date: Nov-2007
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: During the past decade or so there have been numerous efforts to bring in a suitable legal framework which deals with the protection of intellectual property on the Internet. There have been heated debates among many stakeholders such as owners of various intellectual properties, particularly, copyright and trademark right holders, consumers and intermediate service providers. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were at the heart of this debate since there was a tendency to hold them responsible for the infringing actions of their customers and this would prove to be an adverse impact not only on the ISPs but also on the Internet per se. This paper examines liability of ISPs for copyright infringements by their subscribers. A number of research questions like, what amounts to violation of copyright and rights available under copyright, have been addressed in this paper. The analysis of arguments for holding ISPs liable for copyright violation has also been done. The United States of America having most comprehensive law on the issue as of now, applying traditional intellectual property law to cases of copyright infringements on the Internet, is also examined. Later on USA drafted a new law, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 1998, which deals with the Internet related crimes and provides detailed ‘safe harbours’ to limit liability of the ISPs in cases of copyright infringement by their subscribers. The paper further examines the case laws prior to DMCA and post DMCA to examine the manner in which court has looked at the ISPs liability for third party copyright infringement. The position in the Asia Pacific region is also examined with special reference to Singapore since it is believed to be a jurisdiction with a well developed system of law dealing with ISP liability. Since, India is developing rapidly and becoming more and more dependent on Internet, the Indian law and the Information Technology Act, 2000 with reference to ISPs has also been dealt with. The paper concludes with the suggestion on the improvement of the law relating to ISP liability in India.
Page(s): 553-561
ISSN: 0971-5544
Appears in Collections:JIPR Vol.12(6) [November 2007]

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