­­­­­­­To tackle film piracy and copyright infringement The Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Cinematograph Act 1952 on February 6, 2019. The amendment will bring criminal provisions for such acts.

The recommended amendment states that any person who tries to record video to make or transmit a copy, without written permission from the copyright owner, or encourage such acts, which leads to unauthorized camcording and duplication of films, will be liable for a punishment which includes a jail term of three years along with a fine of Rs 10 lakh.

The government has taken this step to check piracy, especially the release of pirated versions of films on the internet which causes huge loses to the film industry and the treasury.

To tackle the menace of film piracy, the proposed Amendments aims to insert the following subsections in the main act.

  1. Insertion of new Section 6AA for prohibition of unauthorized recording

The following section shall be inserted after Section 6A of the   Cinematograph Act, 1952.

6AA. “Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person without the written authorization of the author be permitted to use any audio visual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof.”

*The expression author shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in the clause (d) of section 2 of the Copyright act of 1957.

  1. Amendment of section 7 to introduce Penal Provisions for violating provisions of section 6AA. In section 7 of the principal act, after subsection 1 the following subsection (1A) shall be inserted:

‘lf any person contravenes the provisions of section 6AA, he shall be punishable with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to 10 lakh rupees or with both.”

The proposed amendments would increase Industry revenues, boost job creation, fulfil important objectives of India’s National lP policy and will give relief against piracy and infringing content online.

The proposed amendments have been a long standing demand of the film industry and the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, had recently (19th January 2019) announced that the Government would consider amendments to the law to prevent camcording and piracy. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting piloted this matter for consideration and approval of the Union Cabinet.

Various industry bodies, nationally as well as internationally, have welcomed the proposed amendments.

“This is a significant move to protect intellectual property in our country. This communicates to all stakeholders that as a country we respect and reward innovation and creativity, and will ensure that the rights of owners and creators of this intellectual property are safeguarded,” said Siddharth Roy Kapur, president of the Producers Guild of India, in a statement.

To be sure, the Indian film industry seems to have gained much favour from the government of late. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Bollywood’s young delegation to discuss possible ways that the entertainment industry can contribute to nation-building, before which GST rates on movie tickets was brought down from 28% to 18%. The Union Budget also provisioned for single window clearance for film shooting for all Indian films across the country.

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