02 May 2018

Copyright – ‘Protected system’ under I.T. Act, and ‘Government work’

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that power of declaration of ‘protected system’ under Section 70 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 has to be read along with the provisions contained in Sections 2(k) and 17(d) of the Copyright Act, 1957 defining government work and vesting copyright in such work in the government.

The Court in the case of B.N. Firos v. State of Kerala also held that amendment in Section 70 of the I.T. Act in 2009 was an attempt to circumscribe the power even further than what was prevailing under the pre-amended law, by narrowing down the ambit of “government work”, and was not a first-time introduction of parameters to govern the exercise of power under said provisions.

Upholding the High Court’s Order, the Apex Court rejected appellant-developer’s claim of copyright in a software developed for another firm, which made it available to the government. It observed that intellectual property in the software vested in government as per the MoU, entitling it to declare it as ‘protected system’.


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