Art and Indian Copyright Law: A Statutory Reading

A look at how the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, as amended in 2012, interacts with art (other than films and sound recordings), and, in particular, with Indian art. The first part of this text comprises a feminist and post-colonial reading of the Indian copyright statute while later parts focus on interpreting the provisions of the statute in relation to art.

8 March 2018

[Link] The Legitimacy of Images of Women Breastfeeding

What we consider acceptable speech is, of course, determined by not just the letter of the law but also by socio-cultural norms that inform the law, although they may not be directly incorporated into it. This serves the interests of free speech well since it usually means that content must be particularly egregious to be considered illegal.

Societal disapprobation is not enough to have speech be deemed illegal. That said, the approach which the law adopts isn't ideal. In the context of explicit images, it is primed to protect members of society which may be exposed to supposedly indecent representations of women rather than to protect the women who may feature in those images.

Recently, a controversy broke out after a magazine published an image of a woman breastfeeding on its cover. Over at Asia Times, I argued that while publishing such an image may well be legal (as it should be), it doesn't follow that it's necessarily progressive.

Link to Asia Times: Explicit images of women need to be liberated from the male gaze

(This post is by Nandita Saikia and was first published at IN Content Law.)


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