Tag Archives: Legalinterest


by Sidhanta Sarkar

In recent times, the swift and large scale penetration of the Internet has been a matter of concern for policymakers almost as much as it has been a cause for celebration for the users. Social Media has revolutionized the way people meet, interact and communicate in the virtual world but this revolution has not been without consequence. Questions about the protection of intellectual property rights in the virtual world are steadily surfacing in academic circles. Drawing from this background, this note focuses on nexus between the rights of the copyright owner under the Indian Copyright Act and the seemingly innocuous Terms of Use of social media websites that host user-generated content. It also discusses the defenses to copyright infringement in the context of social media as interpreted by the courts. The note also observes that governments are beginning to look upon this area with interest and progresses to identify some of the more recent tools developed to address copyright issues on social media websites. 

Finally, to conclude the note by succinctly summarizing the observations and makes recommendations for the way forward:

Social media has begun to make its presence felt in our lives in a myriad of ways which we could not have envisaged less than a decade ago. We certainly had our means of access to information revolutionized by digital technologies some years ago but it continued to be a one-way street; we acted only as “consumers of culture”. Suddenly, the Internet is becoming a lot more interactive. Users have graduated from an erstwhile ‘ordinary’ lifestyle of merely reading books and going to the movies to a daily routine of actively participating and engaging on social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, YouTube to name just a few. Those consumers have now transformed into users that generate culture; for whom words like ‘commenting’, ‘liking’, ‘uploading’ and ‘posting’ are now an inseparable part of their common language. Clearly, it is changing how we perceive the Web and for copyright law, in particular, presents unprecedented questions and challenges.

 In a recent copyright infringement lawsuit, a Manhattan jury found that Agence FrancePresse (AFP) and the Washington Post infringed upon the copyright of photojournalist Daniel Morel by using pictures that he had taken in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2014 . Curiously, these pictures had been uploaded by Mr. Morel on his Twitter account. AFP had argued that that once the pictures appeared on Twitter, they were freely available as a part of the public domain. However, it is quite heartening to see that some websites have begun to include the implications of the license terms in simple English along with the accompanying legalese to help users understand what they are agreeing to.

Strangely, despite overboard license terms and large scale infringement over social media, cases that have gone to court still remain almost negligible in number. But considering the uncertainties associated with the Fair Dealing doctrine, it is nevertheless advisable for users to be careful in determining whether the material they are sharing or linking to is copyrighted. Memberships of social media websites continue to grow every day and organizations across the world are making efforts to devise models that can help reduce the copyright implications on social media. But the law cannot lag behind for too long. This transformation of the culture of the web is something the Legislature can no longer ignore. It is time for the legislative process to adapt, evolve and do something about it.


by Sidhanta Sarkar

The death penalty which is also known as “Capital punishment.” In criminal law though, in ancient times a number of ways were present to punish an accused with reference to the nature of his crime against the society. Such punishment was considered based on the nature of criminality presence in an act of the accused. In ancient Indian epics like; the Mahabharata and the Ramayana have also considered the death penalty which was known as “vadhadand” which meant ‘amputation by bits’ which classified into fourteen modes. While in furtherance of retention of the death penalty, King Dyumatsena observed that “if the offenders were leniently let off, crimes were bound to multiply.” In his statement, he explained that the execution of unwanted criminals was perfectly justified in the existing society. As in the same manner the great eminent law-giver Manu also stated: “that in order to refrain the people to indulge in any criminal activity fear as an essential mode for which death penalty was necessary in the society”. He further stated that in the absence of this mode of punishment the weaker would not be able to survive in the society. The concept of the death penalty was only effective in an ancient period but also has the same status in the reign of Mughals rule in India where the death penalty was not executed in a simple manner. Each and every accused person was bound to suffer and also to bear the pain until his death. Mode of the death penalty by way of nailing the body of the accused on walls was common which was abolished later in the British system of criminal justice. Thereinafter, only the mode of the death penalty by way of hanging has remained and which is yet, continuously followed by the Indian criminal justice administration. Being a way to deter offenders, it also enshrined in Section 54 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) which mentioned the death penalty as a way of punishment to refrain criminals.

Retributive Effect:

 Death penalty since ancient time considered as an effective weapon of refraining the people to indulge in any heinous criminal activities which may affect their life or through them in the well of death. Since that period this mode of punishment is also considered as an effective measure of retributive justice. In furtherance of the justification of the death penalty, it is to be said that this is a lawful measure to punish an offender who already takes away the life of another person. It is to be said by a scholar that “a person who kills another must be eliminated from the society and therefore his execution is justified.”

 Deterrent Effect: 

The death penalty though one hand has a retributive effect but on the other hand, it also has a deterrent effect which mainly deters the offenders to indulge in most heinous crimes. Its deterrent effect can be the best way by which perhaps, offenders keep themselves away from the criminality. If they are made aware of this and make such fear in their mind than in a positive way there can be a reduction of the incidences of homicide in the existing society. But in present, the method of public hanging in the early days is prohibited in respect of present laws in our country because of the extension of the human rights regime.


In our country, there shall be retention of the death penalty because in the present era there is no substitute for the death penalty which may play a similar role towards punishing the criminals convicted in heinous criminal activities. In India, there are several people as well as some communities raising their voice to abolish the death penalty but there is no substitution or alternate of death sentence which may prevent the criminals to commit those offenses which may be punished with a death penalty as a mode of punishment. If in India, the death penalty would be abolished than in those cases the amount of criminality or criminals or rate of the offenses would increase as the time passes. Therefore, it is not quite possible to abolish death sentence as a mode of punishment mentioned in the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Because if someone wants to harvest crops from the fields, then he has to decide before what substitute he will plant. Similar is in case of the death penalty if there is a need to change the mode of punishment which already exists in the present society or also enshrined in the codified laws than a further step should be there for deterrence of the criminal minds and their behaviors towards the particular community or society at large. Though, as per the opinions of some of the people belonging to the society support the idea that in more than hundred countries death penalty has been abolished, then they should be remember that we cannot change anything with only seeing particular actions instead of this we should rely upon the circumstances of those countries where it has been abolished. The judicial actions taken and policies revised are not only based on present circumstances but also on past events which lead to historic commitments in a country hence, it is rightly said that: ‘future may be based on past’. If we want to cut the tree then we are required to analyze its roots to cut out them, similar is the case if we want to abolish the death penalty. Therefore, death penalty should be retained in India and those laws which are existing in present society shall be enforced. For the prevention of criminal activities or the rise of criminals or heinous crimes, we can say that such laws need to have some enforcement among the people as well as society at large in India.