PIRACY BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES BY THE DELHI HIGH COURT

The world is becoming more and more digitalized. Firms are investing in computers and software instead of remaining in the paper-pen era. But many organizations shirk from responsibility when they invest in unauthorized purchases of software. When multiple copies are made with the intention of reselling, omitting due credit to the software companies, it means that the organization has stepped into the domain of piracy. Such piracy isn’t a rare phenomenon. With companies trying to cut corners, the software can become easily accessible pirated purchase.

A lawsuit was filed by Microsoft with regards to Internet and Software piracy against a company named ‘Chetu’ administered by M/S Satveer Gaur. This case was filed by three plaintiffs, Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Private Limited (a New Delhi-based subsidiary of the latter), and Adobe Systems Incorporated against two defendants, ‘Chetu’ and its system administrator, Satveer Gaur. The defendants have been accused of ‘infringing the intellectual property rights by committing copyright piracy and selling pirated versions of the plaintiffs’ software’.

The Satveer Gaur-led company has been also accused of misleading the customers by using the same packaging as that used by the plaintiffs. They have copied the software with the intention of reselling without the approval of the plaintiffs. Such actions have cost the plaintiff both monetary and reputation loss.

Before filing the complaint, the three plaintiffs lead their own investigation to provide the court with conclusive evidence of the piracy. They doubly worked on forming their case. One, they resorted to acquiring information through Business Software Alliance (BSA) whose role as a non-profit, global organization is to report unlicensed/ pirated software programs. The other was the plaintiffs’ interrogation of Mr. Satveer Gaur, the system administrator of the firm ‘Chetu’.

Needless to say, the claims were denied by the defendants. They stated that the use of the software on the computer was for personal and not business use. Moreover, they agreed to only possess TOAD, open-source software on their devices. However, these claims were proved false on confiscation of the systems by the local Commissioner as part of the investigation. The defendants were found to be in violation of the intellectual property and copyright laws. These charges were not contested by the defendants.

The court then ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, on viewing the proof presented and keeping in mind the failure to showcase for many issues by the defendants. Chetu and its system administrator, have been charged with 30 lakhs as damages. The ruling seems appropriate for the loss of business and goodwill that the companies Microsoft and Adobe have faced due to the prevalence of piracy. This should serve as an example for others who indulge in such malpractices.