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Government to block misleading copyright.in website

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The Government has issued a notice stating that www.copyright.in is creating a false impression that it is the official website of the copyright registration office of India, which resides at www.copyright.gov.in. As such, the Government mentions that it has asked concerned ministries to block the fake website and initiate legal action.

Note that while copyright.in does not clearly claim to be a government agency, it does carry what looks like deliberately misleading information like the sub-head saying it is a ‘Copyright Registration Office in India’ (rather than of), and having a sign that says ‘copyright.in, Indian certificate’.

India is a signatory to the Berne Convention that provides copyright to eligible works by default and without payment. Users can still register a copyright as it provides proof and helps during court cases as evidence of prior work. Registration also costs money, which can be substantial in some cases. As such, a strategy to avoid this cost referred to as a ‘poor man’s copyright’ is undertaken by the creator by mailing the work to themselves and using the postmark to establish the date of the creation. However, this method does not hold in most courts.

Copyright.in seems to use a somewhat similar method to archive the content with a timestamp and what it claims to be a filing with the notary. It mentions that it uses a bailiff to certify the record date, however, it’s not clear if such a method will hold up in court. The website also claims to provide assistance in the event of litigation. Overall, it charges upto Rs 18,000 for the registration of 100 works.

MediaNama’s Take: The Government is right in wanting to take down a website that this closely resembles a government service, without actually claiming to be one. It also seems to provide a service that looks dubious at best, as it leads users to think they have registered for a copyright when effectively providing merely a notarized date stamp.

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