Stakeholders welcome MIB move to amend Cinematograph Act to prevent film piracy

MUMBAI: The film industry has welcomed the ministry of information and broadcasting’s (MIB) move to amend the Cinematograph Act to bring in an enabling provision to check film piracy. The MIB has solicited comments from General Public on the Draft Cinematograph Act (Amendment) Bill by 2 February 2019.

The ministry noted that film piracy, particularly, the release of the pirated version of films on the internet, causes huge loss to the film industry and government exchequer. It is, therefore, felt necessary to have an enabling provision in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 in order to check film piracy.

Penalties for contravention of provisions for certification of films for public exhibition are given under Section 7 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

The ministry proposes for the introduction of the Cinematograph Act (Amendment) Bill for the inclusion of a new Sub-Section (4) of Section 7 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 with the following text:

“Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force including any provision of the Copyright Act, 1957, any person who, during the exhibition of an audiovisual work, cinematographic in an exhibition facility used to exhibit cinematograph films or audiovisual recordings and without the written authorization of the copyright owner, uses any audiovisual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy or visual recording or sound recording embodying a cinematograph film or audiovisual recording or any part thereof or a copy of sound recording accompanying such cinematograph film or audiovisual recording or any part thereof during subsistence of copyright in such cinematograph film or sound recording, shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding three years and shall also be liable to fine not exceeding Rs.10 Lakhs, or to a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.”

Speaking on this development, Tips Industries MD Kumar Taurani said that this amendment is very good for the music and film industries. “Actually we needed this to happen long back. I think that if the industry jointly pursues this with the authorities it will be a big help for the industry. Rampant piracy is happening. The amendment will be really good for us.”

Motion Picture Distributors Association MD India Uday Singh noted that this move is long overdue given that other countries have legislation that covers the use of camcorders.

“Most countries in the world either have a law or some kind of a provision that covers camcording. It is a welcome move. We used to see a lot of leaks in the supply chain in this area. I think that this is one more step towards plugging that leak.”

He also feels that the reduction in the GST rate for tickets will also play a role in reducing piracy. He noted that when affordability grows then it boosts demand, more platforms spring up and people have less incentive to go to illegal sites and run the risk of running into all kinds of problems like malware.

“It is a good move by the government which should help in curbing piracy. Our laws are being upgraded to match with the international standards. Practically, it will not have any impact on piracy but there will be a deterrent effect. It will strengthen the hands of the law enforcement agencies,” said Dua Associates Solicitor General Hetal Thakore.

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