When it comes to subscriptions, it’s quite common to have a shared ID for streaming services and e-commerce platforms. But if you share ‘news epaper’, PDF files or any digital clipping of a newspaper online in India it may land you in serious trouble. So, before you share an epaper online from any prominent print media house, remember that you are violating the Copyright Act, 1957 and Trade Marks Act, 1999. And if you think of starting a WhatsApp group service where you will simply distribute PDF copies of Indian newspapers then note that this may attract legal troubles for you.
As per the law, “The unlawful and unauthorized circulation/distribution of newspaper and the contents thereof constitutes infringement of Copyright under Section 51(b)(ii) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and the same is liable to be injuncted under Section 55 of the Copyright Act.” So, even sharing a PDF snippet of a newspaper online may be illegal.
However, this doesn’t mean you should not share news online on social media. The easiest way to share news online is by sending links to the articles. There are no restrictions in sharing official links of news stories online. Almost all major newspapers in India have their own websites and you can safely share links to the articles you like reading.
Apart from the media companies, even social media firms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and others may initiate legal action against you for sharing epaper PDFs as it violates their respective terms and conditions for copyrighted content.
For those unaware, the reason why sharing epaper online is illegal is simply because the news articles under the news caption or headline that are published in the newspaper or website are property of the media company and they are the “first owner” of copyright of such news articles, as per the provisions of section 17 (a) of the Copyright Act. So, in legal terms “any imitation by an unauthorised person would constitute infringement of Copyright under Section 51 of the Copyright Act and the same is liable to be injuncted under Section 55 of the Copyright Act.”