Indian firm sued for pirated software in California
An Indian textile firm in California has been ordered to pay $100,000 by California Attorney General Kamala Harris as penalty for using pirated computer software. Pratibha Syntex, headquartered in Madhya Pradesh was accused of conducting illegal business practices that placed California garment companies at a disadvantage. This is the first time a state government has secured a legally enforceable judgement against an international company.
Software Piracy laws in the US
In 1964, the United States Copyright Office registered software as a form of literary expression. In 1980, the US Copyright Act was amended to include computer programs and software. In late 1992, Congress passed an amendment the Copyright Act, instituting criminal penalties for copyright infringement of software. The penalties for infringement include imprisonment of up to five years, fines up to $250,000, or both.
What are India's legislations against software piracy?
In India, the copyright of computer software is protected under the Indian Copyright Act of 1957 and is defined as the use, reproduction or distribution of software without having received the expressed permission of the author. Under the Indian Copyright Act, violators can be tried under both civil and criminal law. Penalties include imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine of Rs.50,000-200,000.
Top software pirating countries
According to a study published by the Business Software Alliance, the top three countries with the highest piracy rates are Venezuela, Indonesia and China. USA has the lowest piracy rate at 19%.
What were the violations committed by Pratibha?
In 2013, the state of California filed a law suit against Pratibha Syntex on the basis that it did not pay licensing fees for software it relied on for its business. These included design software and operating systems manufactured by Adobe and Microsoft. The litigants argued that by using unlicensed software, Pratibha was saving on operational costs, gaining an unfair advantage over competitors.
What are Pratibha's legal obligations now?
Apart from the $100,000 fine, Pratibha has been prohibited from using unlicensed software or reproducing any part of a copyrighted software program without the permission of the legitimate copyright holder. Pratibha will have to conduct four audits of the software on their computers and fix any violations within 45 days. In addition, Pratibha must draft an IT policy and circulate it among its employees.