Amendments, as envisioned in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023, are simply deviations from the legal frameworks of the IPC, CrPC, and IEA. The present article is an attempt at a detailed comparative analysis of these reforms, with particular emphasis on the effect of these changes on criminal remedies against copyright infringement.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 vs. Indian Penal Code, 1860

While the IPC addressed offenses relating to copyright infringement indirectly, through its provisions on cheating and forgery, the BNS charged with much more focused dealings. The general nature of the provisions under IPC usually resulted in uneven application and insufficient penal action on matters of intellectual property violations.

Under the BNS, the offenses that are consolidated from the IPC, such as dishonest misappropriation of property and criminal breach of trust, now carry enhanced penalties. For example, under Section 314, the dishonest misappropriation of property now includes a minimum imprisonment of six months, thereby making the crime of copyright infringement deterrent. Correspondingly, the maximum term for criminal breach of trust has been enhanced to five years under Section 316 from three years under the IPC.

The BNS condenses various provisions dealing with cheating and enhances the minimum sentence of imprisonment from three to five years where the wrongful loss that may accrue to the victim is likely. These are improvements depicting India’s commitment to fine-tuning its penalties with contemporary economic realities and stepping up deterrence mechanisms against copyright infringement.

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 vs. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The BNSS presents reforms in procedures relevant for the effective prosecution of offenses of copyright infringement. Whereas the CrPC did not have any specific provisions with respect to intellectual property crimes, and even BNSS improves investigative and prosecutorial procedures and smoothens enforcement actions.

Some of the key improvements include that victims can now lodge their complaints relating to offenses committed anywhere in the country in any police station; this flexibility is important, mostly on contemporaneous crimes like digital piracy, where offenders may be operating in numerous jurisdictions. Secondly, BNSS empowers a magistrate to attach properties acquired through criminal activities, including copyright infringement, hence providing a robust mechanism for restitution to affected persons.

BNSS lays down very strict parameters for any search and seizure operation, much more so in the digital environment. Under these, guidelines preservation and admissibility of digital evidence—a scenario that presented challenges in handling electronic records under the dated provisions of the CrPC—are ensured. The requirement for audio and video recording of searches adds to transparency and brings in an element of accountability, critical for the integrity of evidence presented in courts.

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 vs. Indian Evidence Act, 1872

The BSA does something about the inadequacies that existed within the IEA—a very fundamental question as far as admissibility of evidence goes for digital evidence in cases of online copyright infringement. The IEA could not effectively accommodate electronic record books, and prosecuting intellectual property offenders was a nightmare in this digital era.

In contrast, the BSA expressly recognizes e-records as original documents and, as such, makes them admissible in any proceedings. A host of electronic media falls within the ambit of this recognition, ranging from emails to server logs and every other form of electronic communication. By doing this, the BSA makes prosecutions much easier by carrying the stature of paper documents into the electronic realm and synchronizing legal practice with changing technology.


Transition from IPC, CrPC, and IEA to BNS, BNSS, and BSA: This is a landmark development in the legal regime in India with regard to provisions about infringement of copyright. Therefore, these reforms embody sort of a forward-looking approach in many ways that very powerfully address challenges of enforcing modern intellectual property, availing clearer definitions, enhanced penalties, and streamlined procedures in researching and prosecuting offenses.

The stronger penalties under the BNS reflect India’s seriousness in respect of the safeguarding of rights in works of authorship and deterring infringement as a reflection of relevant economic circumstances of the day. It guarantees that the constantly changing, complex cases associated with digital copyright infringement can be accordingly met by law enforcement agencies. Finally, the provisioning for the admissibility of digital evidence within the BSA points towards a future-looking approach to intellectual property law, which is able to adapt to technological advancements and patterns of infringement.

In an ongoing development of India in stride with technological changes, such legislative reforms aim at protecting the excitability of intellectual property rights and thereby inculcating a culture of respect for creativity and innovation. This is going to gradually make it sure that India emerges quite well to meet the challenges of digital piracy and other pan-copyright infringements in modernizing its legal framework for a just and effective system.

Contributed By- Aanya Bhargava

Kamala Nehru College (UoD) (2021-2024)

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