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Cyber Space Intellectual property issues and International Regimes

This article explains the cyber space IPR issues and explains some of the International regimes related to it

COPYRIGHT ISSUES IN CYBER SPACE

LINKING: “Linking” allows an internet site user to go to another website on the web without leaving that specific website. By clicking on a word or image in one web page, the user can view another Web page somewhere else in the world, or on the same server as the original page. Linking may damage the rights or interests of the owner of the page that is linked to in two ways:

Linked-to sites can lose income as their revenues are often tied to the number of viewers who visit their home page, and;

It may create the impression in the minds of users that the two linked sites endorse each other or are somehow linked to each other.

For example, A makes a homepage for his website, and on the homepage he places some advertisements, from which he can make some money and it contains links to various subordinate pages. Then, B creates his website, which contains links to A’s subordinate pages. This is called deep linking. Because of this, the website visitors to B’s site will be able to gain access to A’s material, without even visiting or seeing A’s advertisements.

Copyright infringement occurs when one site contains links to copyrighted materials contained in another site against the wishes and knowledge of the copyright owner.

INLINING: “Inlining” is that the process of displaying a graphic file on one website that originates at another. In inlining, a web site user at a certain site can, without leaving that site, view a particular video featured on some other site.

FRAMING: “Framing” is that the process of allowing a user to look at the contents of 1 website while it's framed by information from another site. Framing may trigger a dispute under copyright and trademark law, because a framed site alters the looks of the content and creates the impression that its owner endorses or is associated with the framer.


TRADEMARK ISSUES IN CYBER SPACE

A domain name dispute is a conflict that arises when more than one individual believe they have the right to register a specific domain name. A “domain name dispute” arises when a domain name similar to a registered trademark is registered by another individual or organization who is not the owner of registered trademark. All name registrars must follow the ICANN‘s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP).

CYBER-SQUATTING: Cyber-squatting is a kind of Domain name dispute. It includes registering, selling or using a domain name with the intent of profiting from the goodwill of someone else’s trademark.

Yahoo! Inc v. Akash Arora & Anr (1999 IIAD Delhi 229) the defendants were using “yahooindia.com” for providing internet services. The petitioner here was the owner of the trademark “Yahoo!” and had registered its domain name with different countries like “yahoo.in” for India. Hence, the domain name “yahooindia.com” could be mistaken as an extension of “Yahoo!”. The Court treated the matter as passing off and granted an injunction restraining the defendant from using the name “yahooindia.com”.

MATE-TAGS: Meta tagging is a technique in which a word is inserted in the keywords field of the site in order to increase the chances of a search engine returning the site, even though the site may have nothing to do with the word which was inserted. Trademark infringement occurs when companies include in their own websites meta tags containing the names or descriptions of other companies. For example, Coca Cola used the keyword “Pepsi” in its meta tags, now the web surfers who used search engines in order to obtain information about Pepsi would be directed to Coca Cola’s web site due to these meta tags.

INTERNATIONAL LEGAL REGIMES RELATING TO IPRS

BERNE CONVENTION:

 The Berne Convention[1], 1886, deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors. It provides creators (authors, musicians, poets, painters etc.) with the ways to control how their works are used, by whom the works are used, and terms of such usage. It contains variety of provisions determining the minimum protection that's to be granted and certain special provisions available to developing countries that want to use them. It is based on three basic principles and the three basic principles are the following:

Principle of National Treatment- Works originating in one of the Contracting States must be given the same protection in each of the Contracting States as the protection latter grants to the works of its own nationals.

Principle of Automatic Protection- Protection must not be conditional upon compliance with the formalities.

Principle of Independence of Protection- Protection is independent of the existence of protection within the country of origin of the work.

WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY:

 The WIPO Copyright Treaty reemphasizes that copyright protection extends only to expressions and to not underlying ideas, procedures or related methods of operation or mathematical concept. Article 4 of the treaty guarantees the protection of computer programs as literary works altogether modes and sorts of expression. Article 5 of the treaty recognizes that each one sorts of compilations of knowledge or other material, by reason of the choice or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations and thereby are protected.

WIPO PERFORMANCE AND PHONOGRAMS TREATY:

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, 1996 (WIPO PPT) may be a relatively comprehensive regime as compared with the WIPO Copyright Treaty. The WIPO PPT imposes a ‘National Treatment’ obligation on the signatory countries to ensure exclusive rights specifically recognized under the treaty, including the proper to equitable remuneration.

The treaty deals with a variety of rights of performers including moral and economic rights and therefore the related rights of reproduction, distribution, rental etc. The treaty also addresses a range of rights related to producers of phonograms. This treaty also deals with the right to remuneration for broadcasting and communication to the public, obligations related to technological measures and rights management.

UDRP:

 The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the UDRP Policy) sets out the legal framework for the resolution of disputes between a domain name registrant and a third party over the abusive registration and use of an Internet domain name in the generic top- level domains (e.g.,. biz,. com,. info,. net,. org), and country code top- level domains that have adopted the UDRP Policy voluntarily.

The name registered by the name registrant is identical or confusingly almost like a trademark or service mark during which the complainant (the person or entity bringing the complaint) has rights; and the name registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the name in question; and the registered name is getting used in bad faith.

CONCLUSION

Cyber space is becoming a hub for property rights infringement of varied e-businesses. Certain practices by web site operators have resulted in violation of intellectual property rights or other entitlements of other websites operators. Hence, it's become important that folks are conscious of the illegal usage of their websites and pages. With the advancement of Cyber space, copyright and trademarks are not limited to the conventional intellectual property but has extended to intellectual property over the internet. There are various guidelines provided by international conventions and treaties to protect IPRs online which are helping e-commerce and e-businesses to expand with none harm to them.


[1] https://www.unido.org/sites/default/files/2014-04/Berne_Convention_for_the_Protection_of_Literary_and_Artistic_Works_28.09.1979_0.pdf

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