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MIB in talks with DIPP to set up Copyright Board to oversee IPR implementation

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has initiated discussions with the Department of Commerce on the modalities to set up a Copyright Board to oversee strict implementation of intellectual property (IP) laws for the entertainment industry, particularly the film sector.

The ministry was in talks with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to implement a new national intellectual property rights (IPRs) policy and would constitute a Copyright Board to introduce policy measures in this regard, I&B secretary Ajay Mittal said while inaugurating the 18th edition of FICCI Frames.

“At the core of the health of this industry lies the ability to protect IP both for the content creator and distributor, who look to monetise content. We continue to push towards ensuring that IP laws are implemented and guard the industry against piracy,” he said.

Secretary Mittal assured the M&E industry professionals that the censorship challenges posed by fringe elements would be surmounted by the strength of the Constitution and the rule of law.

“We have already received a report by a committee chaired by Shyam Benegal about the working of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The matter is now being considered by the government and soon some of the major concerns that have been expressed would be looked into,” he said.

Mittal said that the government had created a new category of visa called ‘Film Visa’. Shooting of a film in India would be enough ground for issuance of such a visa for the crew, he added.

In order the make the country more attractive for production of films by foreign production houses in India, an award has been instituted by the central government for the most film-friendly state of India. This year an amount of Rs 1 crore has been set apart for such a state.

Department of Commerce joint secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said that Indian film industry accounted for a mere 7% of the global industry’s revenue, which needed to be raised significantly.

Pandey said that the need of the hour was to create 20,000 more digital screens in the country in order to create a critical mass which the industry could leverage.

It was also important for the media and entertainment sector to make a major contribution in marrying the two flagship programmes of the government—Make in India and Digital India—for the benefit of industry, he added.

John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, Canada said that the city of Toronto had signed an MoU with the Indian Consulate to give a fillip to the India–Canada co-production agreement. “We want to collaborate with you and extend to you the financial incentives offered by Toronto to filmmakers from India,” he said.

Nadir Patel, Canadian High Commissioner to India, said that it was time to narrate the Canada story to India in an ambitious and aggressive manner. “We need to talk about what Canada is doing to facilitate industry collaborations with professionals and we see a lot of relevance in coming to FICCI Frames as a partner country.”

Pankaj R Patel, President, FICCI and CMD, Cadila Healthcare Ltd, said that the need of the hour was to maintain a balance between content and its monetisation.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Chairman, FICCI Film Forum, Director and Founder, Romp, said theatres and cultural centres must be built across the country. He said that the committee on censorship headed by Shyam Benegal had strongly recommended the abolition of censorship and advocated the issuance of film certification based on age for preserving freedom of expression in the country. He added that people’s theatres and cultural centres must be built across the country and provide a clean environment for taking content to people.

Participating in another session later, S Rama Rao, senior advisor, Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and International Relations, Solstrat, said that IPR played a critical role in protecting innovation. He said that protection of IP was critical for encouraging innovation in the media and entertainment industry.

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