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Intellectual Property Rights in the Entertainment Industry: Challenge and Future Trends

Intellectual Property Rights in the Entertainment Industry: Challenge and Future Trends

By: Kartikay Sharma (Amity Law School, Noida, Amity University UP)

Intellectual Property Rights or IPR are the rights given to the owners, creators, and authors of the respective intellectual property. Intellectual Property refers to, as the name suggests property born out of intellect of the creator, it includes literary, artistic, musical, designs, symbols and names use in businesses. IPR has various domains under it but the paramount ones are Copyright, Trademark, Patents, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications and Trade Secrets. These domains are further discussed as below-

  • Copyright

Copyright is the right which the author can provide to allow his work to be copied by another person. Copyright includes but is not limited to literary, artistic, dramatic, photographic, architectural works of the authors. Also, the copyright does not require the work to be registered.[1]  

  • Trademark

Trademark is any words, name, symbols, and combination of the same which are used by a business in the commerce, trademarks are used in order to distinguish the trademark owners’ goods or services from that of others.[2] A Trademark is generally required to be registered and provides a tenure of 10 years from the date of getting registered. 

  • Patents

Patents are the protection given to new scientific and inventive breakthrough in the form of machinery, procedure, or a product. Patent grant is based on three important basis which are Novelty, Non-Obviousness, and Industrial Applicability. Patents are mandatorily required to be registered and protects the invention for a tenure of 20 years.

  • Geographical Indication

Geographical Indication or GI is any subject matter which belongs to a particular geographical location and is famous and known for in that particular Geographical location.[3] For example, Darjeeling Tea is the GI of Darjeeling India. It is not required for a GI to be registered but is preferable to be admitted in the record kept by the governing body.

  • Trade Secret

A Trade Secret is a subject matter which is kept secret by the owner in order to not harm the trade and its operation in the Market, the subject matter may include formulas, medicine combinations which if leaked may harm the business.[4] A Secret is termed as Trade secret only if it has been kept a secret and there is industrial applicability of that secret. A Trade secret is not required to be registered and is just required to be kept a secret.


Entertainment Industry

Entertainment Industry is the ever growing and massively popular industry which generates massive profits, it includes movies, music, dramatic works, gaming etc. Entertainment industry usually generates content by obtaining copyrights for existing works and further developing the existing work, for example, a copyright is obtained for a book which is later adapted into a movie.

Once the movie is created, the next step is to distribute the movie to various distributors who further showcase the movies in cinemas and generates money from that. For this to happen distributors are granted special rights to distribute the film and not alter or own the media. In the Entertainment Industry, the only prominent IPR is Copyright as it is widely used in the industry in various capacities and degrees.


History of IPR in Entertainment Industry

IPR and Entertainment industry has had a long forming symbiotic relationship from the early days of Industrialisation, the first movie theatre started in Us in the year 1896 followed by China and India subsequently and the music industry was basically a publishing industry as no radio, or similar instruments existed at that time and publishing of the musical works acted as a protection against infringement.[5] The same model has been continuing its way into the modern era as the publishing protection has now been evolved into copyright protection in the industry, it can be a movie, musical work, books all our covered under the Copyright Law of India.[6]


Emerging Trends in the Entertainment Industry

 Entertainment industry is an ever so evolving industry with new trends emerging in a short period of time. With digitization we are seeing new trends emerging such as streaming services, online gaming, online content, Ai etc which acts as a bane and a boon for the industry. [7] On one hand the new trends are helping expand the entertainment industry at a rapid pace, for example online gaming has boosted in recent years reaching double and triple the plater counts than before. [8] On the Other hand, the digitization of the entertainment medium has led to increase in piracy and copyright infringement.

Streaming services are paid services available to its users that allow them to access a big library of content at a minimal price for a fixed period of time. The users have to subscribe to the service and are allowed to access it according to the plan opted for.

Online Gaming is a platform which allows millions of players to play together with each other while sitting at the comfort of their home. Online gaming has boosted in India especially after the introduction of cheap telecom networks and cheap mobile phones.

Online content such as Instagram reels, TikTok, YouTube shorts are on the rise and are seeing massive growth. More and more people are joining the online content creation ecosystem and gaining millions of followers and generating income through it. Online content includes making video essays, makeup tutorial, gaming commentary etc.

Ai has been the revolutionizing innovation in the field of technology and has also shown its impact in the modern entertainment industry. From content creation, editing to post production Ai has left its fingerprints everywhere, on one hand it acts as a helping hand to its users, on the other hand it uses licenced works illegally to formulate its results leaving the original authors fuming.

These new trends have challenged the existing traditional distribution methods and licencing  models in part revolutionising the Entertainment Industry and paving way for future trends to evolve and take their place.


Piracy is the sinful act of copying, distributing, duplication of a protected work without any authorization from the original owner of the Work. Piracy is rampant in today’s time and leads to great loss of profits to the people involved with the original work. For example, recording a movie without authorization and further distributing it to other people is termed as piracy. Piracy leads to great economic loss not only to the creator but also to the country, as the profit is not generated and thus loss to the economy of the country.[9] It further discourages the owners and creators of the work from creating new and original works as they are not able to rightfully benefit from their work. Some types of piracy are Unauthorized Online Streaming/Download, Torrenting, Train routing etc. Government is actively trying to combat piracy and their initiative can be seen as they recently made amendments to the Copyright Act of 1987 favouring TRIPS provisions.


Probable Solutions to Copyright Infringement in the Entertainment Industry

Blockchain Technology is the leading frontier to the persistent issue of Copyright Infringement in the Entertainment Industry and is a decentralized , peer to peer network based encrypted and immutable digital, federated ledger system.[10] Blockchain Technology can be effectively integrated with IPR to safeguard intellectual property. Blockchain technology has various domains and finding the suitable one is of the paramount importance. With the help of blockchain we can safeguard IP by granting it an encrypted number and tagging it so that it cannot be copied further and if it is copied, it can be easily identified. Its ledger functionality can be utilised for safeguarding and management of licencing agreements while providing an online easy to access way to sign licencing agreements. Blockchain technology shows a way forward and Ip in turn can help pave the way by effective patents on the technology safeguarding the technology from being used without authorization.


IPR and the Entertainment industry has shown a strong symbiotic relationship which dates back to the late 18th century. IPR uses its various domains to help protect the entertainment media some of the domains are copyright, Trademark, patent, GI and Trade Secret. The Entertainment Industry has seen a big change with the introduction of emerging trends such as online gaming, online content, AI, Streaming service and this altogether has led to some banes and boons in the system. The boons includes piracy and its various elements which are responsible for plaguing the entertainment industry and resulting in a loss to the original authors and creators of the work further discouraging them from making original works. A probable solution to this problem is the Blockchain Technology which can help combat the evil of piracy and help the authors. But finding a suitable element from the technology is the next step in the process of protecting the work. In current scenario it is of paramount importance to focus on the newer changes being made in the industry and help minimize the losses caused by them.  


[1] NTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND DEVELOPMENT, Ipr Commission: available at

[3]Geographical Indication, IP India: Available at,of%20origin%20of%20that%20product.

[4] Intellectual Property, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: available at

[5]  The Heart of the Deal: Intellectual Property Aspects in the Law and Business of Entertainment, Journal of Intellectual Property rights: Available at

[6] The Heart of the Deal: Intellectual Property Aspects in the Law and Business of Entertainment, Journal of Intellectual Property rights: Available at

[7] The entertainment industry and India, inc., Research Gate: available at

[8] Investigating on successful factors of online games based on explorer, Information management: Available at

[9] Copyright and the entertainment industry, Ipleaders : Available at

[10] Blockchain Technology and IPR, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights: Available at


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