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Industry experts discuss issues concerning copyright

MUMBAI: Industry experts discussed the emerging trends and concerns relating to copyright, the capacity of the Indian creative sector to fuel economic growth, along with the role of the regulator in rebuilding India’s creative strengths.

Speakers at a session emphasised that an ecosystem approach towards the creative economy’s growth and regulation is the need of the hour. They discussed the issues at a conference organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI), in association with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) .

According to consulting firm PwC’s forecast for 2017–21, the Indian M&E sector has potential to touch USD 45.1 billion by 2021, up from $27.3 billion at the end of 2016. The Indian M&E industry is set to grow at a faster pace of 10.55% CAGR, outshining the global aver average of 4.2% CAGR.

The report states that the industry enables over 7.5 million jobs directly and indirectly, but that it is often seen from the narrow lenses of protection against piracy. However, the potential can only be tapped if backed by a conducive regulatory framework that incentivises creativity.

Government of India Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademark, OP Gupta stated, “DIPP has recently assumed the responsibility for copyright law. Our priority is to streamline the process and decrease the turnaround time for applications on IPR. Currently, it takes about 16–18 months to close an application or assess discrepancies. We target to decrease this pipeline to less than three months.”

“While the law is in the right direction, it is the mindset of the people that needs to evolve. To address this issue, the DIPP is proactively taking steps to create awareness. To amiably change mindsets, we are rolling out programmes with school and college children,” he added.

In 2016, the National IPR Policy brought the administration of copyright under the DIPP, highlighting the intrinsic linkages between commercialisation, consumer choice and creativity. Most recently, the Copyright Act was amended by the Finance Act, 2017, to subsume the Copyright Board under the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which also oversees aspects of trademark and patents.

The internet has emerged as a new area for the enforcement of copyright. Responses to digital piracy like rights information management and encryption have in turn raised several concerns with regard to privacy, cybersecurity, and the issue of freedom of speech and expression.

Star India, content studio president, Gaurav Banerjee said, “A platform like ours has the reach to over 700 million users, and the degree of engagement is for over three hours a day. However, what are we making of this opportunity? Rather than treating television, films as fleeting fancies of youngsters, we must create a stable and lucrative model that will enable ‘power of ideas’ and commercial success that is rewarding and sustainable.”

He emphasised the need for big-ticket reforms and sustained pace of policy change and control to leverage technological advancements in gaming, animation, design and other creative services.

FICCI deputy secretary-general Arun Chawla said that the need is to strike a balance between the access to creative knowledge and entertainment, along with the rewards for the copyright holders. This need is recognised as a global challenge that has shaken the business models of pre-digital creative industries.

FICCI is involved in issues pertaining to protection of intellectual property rights and its effective enforcement. It has also been taking a lead role in raising awareness about copyright and other forms of IPR at a national level.