Copyright Act, 1957 And Video Games

INTRODUCTION

Video games are by-products of the complex authorship – featuring a wide range of art forms, such as music, text, sites, video, graphics, and characters – that involve human interaction while playing a computer program on specific hardware. In the eyes of the law, it is a complex blend of numerous elements, which can be protected individually under different heads of law, only if they achieve a standard requisite. Thus, it is challenging to treat a video game as a single unit. In this field, one can experience a diversity of genres. The constitutional elements will vary from each category of game, to be more precise – with a specific game. Although, the computer program is the stereotyped element amongst all units. At present, there is no specific legal mechanism to protect video games in India. The growth of the business has posed several concerns, in particular relating to the security of intellectual property rights of creators and publishers of video games. Although the industry has various forms of intellectual property rights involved, such as trademark protection for titles and patent protection for computer hardware, the preservation of video games by copyright is of chief concern.

LEGAL PROTECTION FOR VIDEO GAMES UNDER INDIAN LEGISLATION

video games and IPRA developer can be an individual or a team responsible for the creation of a game. According to the Copyright Act, 1957; an author is defined as someone who creates works of literature, theater, music, art, photography, or cinematography. Section 2(o) also describes literary works, including computer programs, tables, and compilations, so that the author can either be considered as the originator, fabricator, or the person responsible for the development of the work. The above description is limited to the coder, programmer, or any other individual who uses a computer to execute the game. The author’s definition excludes roles such as game developer, animator, and director of creative. This means that the monetary reward they demand cannot be satisfied just through royalties generated by the game’s popularity. The job is to assign the contributions of each individual and determine how they might be distributed internally, provided that the copyright for the game is owned by the corporation for whom it was made.

Additionally, a service agreement and a service contract create ambiguity regarding developers’ rights. According to the former, unless an agreement to the contrary is written, the employer owns the copyright created over the course of the jobs and so has the right to royalties. The latter should be the primary owner of copyright regardless of whether the contractor or developer is directly involved in the creation of any or all of the game’s components. Under a service contract, both the employer and the contractor will get royalties created during the work process. It will entail the employer contracting with an individual or business with the requisite know-how and competence to build and produce the game. This would be a concern if the employer and contractor share intellectual property rights in the game, as previously stated. A contract of service exists when the contractor has the authority to control how the project is going completed. However, control is not always final, and elements such as the degree of control, lucrative or loss chances, infrastructure investment, permanent connections, and the requisite skills all play a role in the claimed autonomous activity. Due to the proliferation of developers in the gaming business, Copyright Act, 1957 does not specify the author precisely and may result in ambiguity regarding royalty allocation.

In the case of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd. Vs. Harmeet Singh and Others, the Sony Computer Entertainment subsidiary rendered game systems such as the Playstation 3, the Playstation Vita, and others. Mr. Harmeet Singh and his colleagues sold the consoles and video games out of a shop in New Delhi. They are accused of modifying and uploading pirated software to gaming consoles in order to run Sony’s pirated versions of games. The program was renamed Jailbreak in order to decrypt the original machines’ encrypted code in order to make it compatible with Mr. Singh’s pirated versions of the games. Additionally, it will frequently decrypt the system and modify the original gadgets so that they may be utilized with pirated software. This was accomplished by charging the buyer’s nominal fee, allowing him to participate in expensive games at a very low cost. Mr. Singh purchased one of the game’s original disks from Sony and duplicated it for distribution. The claimant’s copyright in its operating system software was violated by this overriding of the encrypted code.

Sony petitioned the court for an injunction restraining copyright violations, trademark infringement, and distribution, among other things. Sony made an appearance before the court. Sony alleged that Mr. Singh altered his original equipment without its consent and that he infringed his copyright by distributing pirated games without a license. The primary issue was that this was a violation of copyright and that Sony’s games might be copied. Mr. Singh was awarded an ex-parte injunction prohibiting him from selling, copying, modifying the console processor unit, counterfeiting/unlicensed copies of Sony’s software/games. Also, we can see that frequently celebrities and well-known figures’ names or photographs are used in games that appear in the Apple and Google Play stores without their consent, this might be considered a form of privacy invasion. Additionally, video games such as Chota Bheem Jungle Run and Krishna Run incorporate numerous deities from various religions. With the publication of Hanuman: The Rise of Bambina, a game starring the Hindu deity Hanuman, several famous Hindus petitioned for the game’s removal from circulation. In comparison, Hi-Re Studios’ game Smite garnered recognition for its incorporation of Kali, Vana, and Agni. Additionally, films like Krrish and Dabbang have influenced a slew of video games, among others.

CONCLUSION

Based on the facts, assumptions, and discussion stated above, it can be concluded that there is a need for amendment in the outdated and age-old Indian Copyright Act, 1957 with reference to rigid definitions in the various section and terms such as “original work”, “author”, “criminal liabilities” which need to be addressed to reflect the concerning issues of the artificial intelligence at hand. Few countries in the world have recognized artificial intelligence such as the USA, England, New Zealand, and Indian legislation should make an initiative and look forward to adopting principles of those countries to safeguard the artistic work created by artificial intelligence falling directly into public domain merely on the grounds of lacuna in Indian legislation. Let us hope for the solution not merely strengthening the grey areas but fostering the development of Artificial Intelligence and securing its role as pilot of innovation.

Author: Amey Jadhav – an intern at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney,  in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email vidushi@khuranaandkhurana.com

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