It is noteworthy that the dispute resolution mechanism for Copyright issues has always been under scrutiny for not being as effective, which is something that can be said for all the other domains of IPR as well. The situation has worsened all the more in the wake of Covid-19; having seen the imposition of ‘lockdown’ time & again. A chunk of India’s population has been under various types of lockdowns — full, partial, or weekend — according to the orders issued by Central as well as different state governments. The mechanism for the resolution of disputes in this light, for Copyright matters, however, has always been somewhat of a glint.
In 2017, an amendment to the Copyright Act, 1957 by way of the Finance Act, 2017 substituted the Copyright Board with another authority which came about to be known as the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which was created through Trade Marks Act, 1999 with the aim of clubbing all the Intellectual Property disputes to be handled by a single authority. This essentially proved to be inconsequential. The trend of incompetency of the Copyright Board in dealing effectively with the dispute due to lack of technical personnel continued post substitution to IPAB as well.
As it turned out, the IPAB turned out to be yet another stillborn provision that was meant for handling copyright disputes as it was dissolved by a government notification in April 2021. This scenario in the wake of and now post-Covid begs the question as to when will the need of having an effective mechanism for resolving disputes be heeded, a question that has been in existence for about two decades.