Copyrights, Violations and what you can do about it


All about the Copyright Laws of India

21AD is honoured to be a platform that brings together creative minds dabbling in diverse fields of art.  But a major issue for an artist is the risk of their art being stolen; and on the flip side, there’s also this concern: “What if my work is not original?”  Few more questions arise:  What if the Original copyright holder files a complaint and pursues legal action?  What about the locus standi of 21AD in such a situation?

Thus, the disclaimers/indemnities/responsibilities/jurisdictional limits are outlined below in short, precise terms (for detailed definitions and explanations, may research more on Copyright Laws in India).

What are the salient features of the Copyright Law?

  • To prevent copying, duplicating, producing without authorisation or legal printed and signed permission.
  • To prevent claiming a product, idea, concept, book, work of art, etc., as their own which originated from someone else.
  • To protect the original artist of the work or works from being robbed of money, market, goodwill and reputation, fame and popularity, etc.

We at 21AD completely trust that the works are original. To be confronted with any work that is not original will cast aspersions on the integrity and authenticity of 21AD.  Therefore, we take certain actions (as given below) in the case of a submitted piece not being original.

If an artist happens to use a logo, picture, trademark, design, caricature of an icon or person, passages from a book authored by someone else etc, they are requested to hereby obtain a signed consent or indemnity authorising such use.  Otherwise, they may be open to legal proceedings from the original copyright holder.  Under the event of any artist on 21AD receiving a legal notice or the platform itself receiving a legal notification, 21AD will disable the account/shop of the user until the issue is resolved.  21AD may even permanently disable or terminate the user’s account based on the issue’s severity, or if it’s a repeated offence in spite of warnings.

DISCLAIMER: These are only directions and instructions on how to keep your art free from copyright violations. These are in no way intended to serve as an official legal aid to you. Always consult and appoint lawyers in the case of such issues.

What if my art has been stolen? (Notice and Takedown Report)

If any artist believes that their work has been infringed upon, they must immediately notify 21AD by sending a Notice and Takedown Report that must include the following mandatory information:

  1. An electronic or physical signature of the artist, person authorised or given the Power of Attorney to act on behalf of the artist.
  2. A description of the matter claimed to have been infringed.
  3. A description of where the claimed infringing content is located on the 21AD site. 

Additionally, cover all these points in detail:

  1. Authorised Person’s address, telephone number, and email address.
  2. A written/typed and signed statement by the Authorised Person that he/she has a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorised by the owner, its agent, or the law.
  3. A signed statement stating:
  1. The above information is accurate.
  2. He/she is authorised to act on behalf of the owner of the rights involved.

If 21AD has received a Notice and Takedown Report against an artist which specifically mentions one or more of the complainant’s works, the mentioned works of the artist will be removed. The artist will not be able to view or update these works.

DISCLAIMER:  The Notice and Takedown Report thus received may or may not include other works by other authors.  By removing the work, we are not stating that your work does or does not infringe Copyright, Trademark, or Publicity Rights laws.

We are legally obliged to act on reports filed in accordance with our Copyright Policy.

21AD is an enabling platform and thus we legally cannot provide individual Copyright, Trademark or Publicity Rights advice, or give personal/professional opinions on these matters.

The users/artists of 21AD are hereby requested to research Copyright laws and infringement penalties to equip themselves with this crucial knowledge—better still, is if they can obtain the legal advice (or services, if needed) of lawyers well versed in such matters.  For a quick reference, visit https://copyright.gov.in

Is Fan Art considered to be plagiarism?

Fan art is artwork created by fans—and not the original creators—of a work of fiction and derived from a series’ character or some other aspect of that work. Fan art refers to artworks that are neither created nor commissioned/endorsed by the creators of the work from which the fan art derives. 

However, is it really a problem?

Since it can be considered as derivative work, most fan art is an infringement of the original artist’s copyright. 

Fair Use

Copyright law has a doctrine called “fair use” that (in the name of free speech) protects

certain uses that would otherwise be an infringement. To find protection in fair use, a second work must be an artistically transformative use of the first, not have a great economic impact on the first, and not  derive too much from the first. A good piece of fan art is very transformative and gives us a new vision of a familiar character, so that it benefits the original artists without having an economic impact on them. However, Fair Use is a vague doctrine.

But what about parodies?

Parody is like a caricature of the original artwork—a satirical or humorous take on it. But, parody enjoys some protection. Well executed parody will steal just the right elements from the target to make the identity & intention clear, and then let the roast begin. Even if the “core” elements are copied and the economic value of the original is harmed, a parody is still protected.

Trademark Violation

Fan art could also potentially violate the trademark. Protection in the trademark realm covers the right to claim that the original artist is the rightful artist. Trademarks are violated when the artist who designed the fan art markets goods in such a way that the buyers may be deceived into believing that they are buying it from the original artist. Trademarks usually protect words or phrases and company logos, but can also extend to packaging (called trade dress).

What if I’ve been wrongly accused of plagiarism? (Counter Notice)

If the notified artist believes a report was in error or should not apply to their work, they have the right to lodge a counter-notification.

FILING A COUNTER NOTICE

If an artist believes or is sure that 21AD has removed their work due to an error or misidentification, they can send us a counter-notice. Such a counter-notice must provide the following information:

  1. An electronic or physical signature of the person authorised or given the Power of Attorney to act on behalf of the artist.
  2. Detailed description of the content which has been removed, including the URL on which the content was located on 21AD’s website.
  3. Authorised Person’s address, telephone number, and email address.
  4. A statement by the Authorised Person that they consent to the jurisdiction of the courts (specified by 21AD) in case the aggrieved party has filed a case.
  5. A statement by the Authorised Person that they have good faith and belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification.
  6. Counter Notice to be sent to [email protected]

REFUSAL TO REINSTATE DESPITE NOTIFICATION

In spite of receiving Counter Notice, 21AD may still refuse to reinstate the account in case the work does not comply with 21AD’s User Agreement and/or the Copyright Laws of India.  21AD may ask for further information from the artist to determine whether the work can be reinstated.

Under most circumstances, 21AD may forward the Counter Notice directly to the complainant, which will include the artist’s/authorised person’s contact information.  The complainant may act or initiate legal action under the given jurisdiction.  If the complainant does not act or initiate any legal action against the artist within 14 days, the artist can contact and request 21AD to reinstate their work provided the said work complies with the User Agreement.