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[SSRN] Indian Music: Ancient Traditions, Contemporary Rights essay on copyright and musical creativity which 'discusses cultures of musical borrowing in the realm of Indian music from ancient times to the present day, and examines the effect of the introduction of colonial copyright law in India. It posits that the Western paradigm on which contemporary copyright law is based cannot be easily integrated with Indian musical practices, and argues for the decolonisation of the law'. 'This essay, excluding the personal note introducing it, is a lightly-edited version of what would have been my contribution to the volume — Music Borrowing and Copyright Law: A Genre-by-Genre Analysis edited by Enrico Bonadio and Chen Wei Zhu. (I withdrew it from the book in early 2023 due to the failure to reach an agreement as to the terms of publication.)' Contents A Personal Note Divergent and Enmeshed Histories Incongruous Laws in Indian Environs Adaptation and Fixation Authors and Performers Attributed and Actual Authorship Borrowing in Cu

Data Protection and the Bill of Unintended Consequences

This write-up describes first impressions of the 2022 Indian bill dealing with data protection. It has not been edited, and considering that it's been drafted after close to 36 hours without sleep — some days are especially long — it will almost certainly be rethought and edited at some point. It's difficult to miss the deficiencies of the 2022 Digital Data Protection Bill: the proposed statute appears to be well intentioned, and it does attempt to protect those whose data is collected — data principals as the document refers to them — but it's inability to set meaningful boundaries and to draft with a degree of specificity has resulted in its falling far short of its ostensible aims. The bill does not go so far as to explicitly state that only such personal data as is essential to provide services or goods may be collected and then retained for no longer than necessary or until the data principal withdraws consent for data retention. However, it does, through the Explana

Contracts, Clauses, and Checklists

"I was recently confronted with an agreement I drafted some 10 years ago which, much to my embarrassment, was still being used possibly slightly edited but essentially still my draft: an agreement I'd put together with maybe 15 minutes of thought prior to drafting. Legally, it was and still is watertight. It also has all the hallmarks of a petty bully. Utterly lopsided clauses not in favour of the the other party, stringent obligations placed on them... the works. Somewhere between having mellowed with age and having no particular need to demonstrate that I'm aggressively protecting client interests, today, that isn't an agreement I would consider drafting. Of course, I still do whatever it takes to protect client interests though not at the cost of potentially destroying their relationship with the other party if I can avoid it. I'm far more likely to tell a client now than I was 10 years ago that a clause they're proposing is unfair — think of every time you&

Viewing Copyright Policy through Music and Injury

This, I think, is what policy work at its most meaningful looks like: when one is able to use one's experiences to view proposals and, hopefully, to be able to contribute towards a desirable outcome. Recently learning that a music teacher I had known many years ago had passed on led me to think of those long-ago lessons, and of the disability-friendly provisions in the Indian Copyright Act…  It was only very recently that I learnt that a music teacher I had known had passed on a decade ago. I'd first met her before I was to take an exam in the 1990s, every bit as nervous as could be.  On another occasion, at another exam, she sat outside the music room while I played — "Don't worry, I'm right here" — only to hear the piano begin emitting sounds which no instrument should. Music clips weren't easily available then, some thirty years ago, and a clothes clip I had used to secure pages flew off right in the middle of a piece, straight into the piano. Every st

Reimagining Worlds and Works through Translation

Copyright began as the right to copy or reprint a protected work and, in time, it has become the right to control avenues through which a work may be financially exploited. At the micro level, this has meant that copyright has evolved from a right which does not allow author-owners of works a say in whether or by whom or how their works may be translated to a right which enables them to control, at the very least, whether a protected work can be translated at all and, if it is translated, by whom it may be translated. Granting permission for a protected work to be translated, however, may be an act of faith. What happens once an author-owner grants such permission varies dramatically depending on the jurisdiction involved. In the UK, for example, Section 80(2) of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act prevents authors from claiming that their moral right of integrity in respect of works they've created has been violated by translations having accorded their works derogatory tr

Blockchain: Copyright and (De)Centralisation

Copyright law is cognizant of the ways in which anonymity can play out in conventional fields as it demonstrates through provisions determining the term of copyright to anonymous works. The law, however, is not especially well equipped to deal with anonymity and blockchain together despite the fact that we have partially segued from the industrial information economy, which copyright law could be considered to have anticipated, to a networked information economy.  Blockchain and traditional copyright law do not fit together neatly allowing open data and 'piracy' to effectively be two sides of the same coin despite offering high hopes for a transition into an economy in which open knowledge prominently features. On the contrary, although blockchain certainly does have its benefits, not least of which are allowing for the fractional ownership of protected works stored on-chain and, potentially, facilitating a thriving marketplace in secondhand digital copies since it enables ea

Copyright/Cinematograph Statutory Dissonance

It appears the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021, proposes to amend the statute in a way which would effectively result in there being two primary statutes which contain provisions relating to the infringement of intellectual property rights in films: the Copyright Act and the Cinematograph Act.  Reading through the proposal, it isn't at all clear how the relevant provisions in the two statutes, if they were all to simultaneously be in force, would act together and, to make matters even more concerning, the provisions proposed to be inserted into the Cinematograph Act seem incoherent from the point of view of copyright law: the first appears to suggest that knowingly recording or transmitting a film (or trying to do so or helping others to do so) requires the consent of the author of the film and not its owner; it reads:   "6AA. Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall, without the written authorization of the author, be permitted to use any audi

The Pandemic and the Path to Equitable Healthcare

Equitable healthcare to address the CoVID-19 crisis requires a multilevel, multipronged approach, and it is important to achieve equitable healthcare not least because, as we've heard over and over again, no-one is safe till everyone is safe. Borders, whether drawn on maps or in minds, will not — cannot — guarantee the safety of those within their bounds. Not when one speaks of being safe from a virus such as this. Intellectual property rights play a role in the process of achieving equitable healthcare although they are, by no means, the only factor: ultimately, it is realpolitik which plays a decisive role in manufacturing, and in supply and demand chains. This write-up, however, focusses on intellectual property rights and strategies from a largely theoretical point of view not least because the information available in the public domain about pre-existing contractual relationships and other factors which affect the situation on the ground are not available in their entirety. Co

First Principles: The Anticipated Non-Personal Data Governance Framework

A committee constituted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a draft report on non-personal data governance in India in July 2020 which it revised in December 2020 following the receipt of feedback from stakeholders. The December 2020 report envisages parallel regimes for the governance of personal and non-personal data although it does not appear to take into account how fluid the two forms of data are. The report's underlying principles also seem fairly ambiguous; the document suggests that 'regulation in India to establish rights over non-personal data collected and created in India' be 'simple, digital and unambiguous' in § 3.4(v) without specifying what it means by 'digital' or, indeed, why the regulations should be digital.  The comments contained in this write-up seek to engage with the principles which appear to underlie the December 2020 Draft Report by the Committee

[SSRN] Negotiated Content Dissemination Under Copyright Law

ABSTRACT Copyright does not function in isolation. It is supported by contract law, and it is but one of the laws which governs content, its ownership, use, and dissemination. Focusing on broadcasts, whilst recognising that the processes applicable to them also apply to other forms of dissemination in modified form, this text describes, in broad strokes, the field in which negotiated grants of copyright function from a statutory point of view, describes what goes into attempting to ensure that content per se is ready for legal dissemination, and discusses how relationships between the various stakeholders are structured to facilitate such dissemination. A 20-page working paper (that's been on my device for a while) shared as-is :  available here via SSRN . Addendum, 2022 Also see: Content Clearance Form ( GoogleDocs via LinkedIn ) This post is by Nandita Saikia and was first published at IN Content Law .