Interview With Pragya Chaturvedi - Senior Intellectual Property Advisor, British High Commission, New Delhi
on Apr 07, 2022
Pragya Chaturvedi has been working in close collaboration with the Government of India to deliver the work plan under the MoU executed between the Office of CGPDTM, India, and the UK IPO, with the shared objective of strengthening the IP ecosystem in India, and enhancing Ease of Doing Business (EoDB). Assisting UK businesses with local IP issues in India. Collaboratively working with various government entities on raising IP awareness. Engaging and advising regional HMG colleagues to implement projects per the IPO’s objectives. Supporting the DIT team on the ongoing FTA negotiations.
Frontlist: There is a prevailing notion that people should not pay for using books and other material that is available online. However, in many cases, it may amount to copyright infringement. What are your views on dealing with this issue?
Pragya: I have indeed come across this notion several times. The common feeling is that for anything available on the internet, no permissions are required, and no payment needs to be made to the copyright owner since it is already on the internet. However, that is not always true and will always depend on the nature of the content. If the content is still under copyright, you need permission from the copyright owner to use the content and may also need to make payments for using that content unless the use falls under any of the fair-dealing or other exceptions. More awareness about the rights of copyright owners and permitted fair use can address this issue to some extent.
Frontlist: While digital technology has made it easier to share and disseminate content, there are also challenges such as increased piracy and infringement. How can we manage this situation?
Pragya: In the digital context, one major issue is that the cost of copying is almost close to zero, and the availability of one unauthorised copy can hamper the economic rights of copyright owners. Criminal enforcement can also be difficult since the source of pirated content might come from a different jurisdiction where local laws do not apply. Even after initial enforcement, mirror pirated sites with the same pirated content can appear again. In recent times, dynamic injunctions have been a helpful tool to deal with such infringements.
There are also some challenges that copyright owners face in the context of online service providers and intermediaries’ obligations to tackle copyright piracy on their platforms. All concerned stakeholders need to work together to understand their roles and responsibilities in dealing with copyright infringement.
Frontlist: With your experience in this field, can you please share some success stories in the Enforcement of Intellectual Property?
Pragya: The Telangana IP Crime Unit (TIPCU) and the Maharashtra Digital Cyber Crime Unit (MCDCU), in close collaboration with government bodies, have been proactively working on dealing with IP crime and piracy, including suspension of infringing websites. Industry bodies in India have also been very active in the enforcement arena, with some impressive initiatives. At the IPO, we are very happy to have partnered with them on several occasions to support their efforts to ensure more effective enforcement.
Frontlist: What has been your experience working with UK publishing industry stakeholders, and do they have any common issues with the Indian publishing industry?
Pragya: Getting fair value for published works has always been a challenge, particularly in the academic publishing space. In my experience working with UK and Indian stakeholders in the publishing industry, the fair dealing exception in the Indian copyright law has been a key issue for them. Also, in the digital context, when pirated educational content is available online, it sometimes becomes difficult to negotiate with entities in the education sector to purchase a licence. It can cause economic harm, which may be irreparable from the perspective of publishers.
Frontlist: Is there a way to make it easier to buy and licence content, and will that help to eliminate copyright issues?
Pragya: In a price-sensitive market like India, it is necessary to evolve licensing and business models that respond to local markets. Collective management organisations play a vital role in ensuring this. Ensuring the diversity of CMOs in the market will help in ensuring more effective licensing and return on investment.
Frontlist: Does the existing copyright regime sufficiently address the issues posed by digital technologies?
Pragya: India’s Copyright Act does set the right framework for enforcement in the digital context, with provisions on Technological Protection Measures (TPM) and Rights Management Information (RMI). However, enforcement can sometimes be difficult and expensive, particularly for smaller businesses. Thus, the role of collective management societies is the key to ensuring that copyright owners receive fair value for their works.