The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to introduce the Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2019 and amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The Bill aims to tackle film piracy by instituting penal provisions for unauthorized camcording and duplication of films by making it a legal offence and punishing the offender with a three-year jail term and a fine of Rs. 10 lakh. The Cinematograph Act, 1952 deals with provisions for the certification of cinematograph films for exhibition and for regulating exhibitions by means of cinematographs.
The Bill requires the insertion of a new Section 6AA in the Cinematograph Act to ensure the prohibition of unauthorized recording.
“Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall 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 section says.
Another section requires the introduction of penal provisions for violating provisions of section 6AA. “If 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," it says.
The proposed amendments would increase industry revenues, boost job creation, fulfill important objectives of India’s National IP policy and give relief against piracy and infringing content online, a statement from the ministry said.
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According to a report by global solution provider in digital platform security and media and entertainment, Irdeto, the Indian media and entertainment sector loses $2.8 billion of its annual revenue to piracy and India is one of the top five countries for peer-to-peer downloads. The Indian film industry has long cited piracy as a major challenge to its growth and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced an intention to tackle the same at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai last month. The Union Budget presented last week too took note of the need for anti-piracy measures.
“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.