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Not only your registered work, you can even save your ideas or concepts with confidentiality rights!


Confidentiality breach is a way broader term than proprietary right of copyright. In these times of technological advancement it has become more difficult for scriptwriters to save their work from being misused. TV industry and multimedia houses have become a huge business where rich producers and powerful productions houses rule major portion of industry, it has been seen in number of cases that these production houses misuse their power and overpower new writers, either the ideas or concepts of these new writers are purchased, shared and if nothing works then stolen. It is easy to protect registered work under copyright Act but the ideas and concepts which have yet not taken any written form or have not been registered are more vulnerable and need to be shared with precautions.


People often share these ideas with those people who they have trust on, who they think can keep their information confidential, with whom they think a fiduciary relationship can be formed but many a times their confidentiality gets breached or misused by the recipient for his or her material benefits. In order to be any information confidential it is mandatory that information has not been revealed yet to the public nevertheless a document, formula or data or something of that kind, which is the result of work done by the maker upon materials which may be available for the use of anybody can be confidential too. But the imperative attribute which makes any information confidential is the fact that the maker of the document has used his brain and thus produced a result which can only be produced by somebody who goes through the same process.


Once any information has been declared confidential the next step is to check whether that information was shared with a trust or not, whether there was any fiduciary relationship was formed or not, the court will have to examine that the information shared was supposed to be kept confidential by the recipient, in order to have a strong case following elements need to be proved to establish confidentiality breach:


  • that the information was of a confidential nature

  • that the information was communicated in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence

  • that there has been an unauthorized use of the information to the detriment of the person communicating it

Once these three elements have been established then a strong case of confidentiality breach has been formed. If the recipient is proved to have used confidential information, directly or indirectly obtained from a person owning the idea or concept, without the consent, express or implied of that person, he will be guilty of an infringement of that person’s rights.


One has to bear in mind that persons who create an idea / concept or theme which is original, laws must ensure that such like people are rewarded for their labor. The law of the confidence is different from law of copyright. The right to restrain publication of work upon the grounds, that to do so would be breach of trust of confidence, is a broader right than proprietary right of copyright. The ideas or information have been acquired by a person under such circumstances that it would be a breach of good faith to publish them and he has no just case or excuses for doing so, the court may grant injunction against him. The distinction between the copyright and confidence may be of considerable importance with regard to unpublished manuscripts / works submitted, and not accepted, for publication or use. Whereas copyright protects material that has been reduced to permanent form, the general law of confidence may protect either written or oral confidential communication.


Written by, Pankaj yadav, Law center 1, Delhi University, Law Intern at S.Bhambri & Associates (Advocates), Delhi.


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