RS passes copyright amendments

RS passes copyright amendments

In what may be a major relief for scores of writers and musicians, the Rajya Sabha on Thursday cleared the long-awaited Copyright (amendment) Bill 2010 that bestows legal rights to the creative fraternity to prevent music companies and film producers using their writings and songs without paying any royalty to them.

Moved by the union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, the amendment also suggests strong punitive action for those who violate the law, while allowing the visually challenged to read copyrighted books in special formats without infringing on copyrights.

It incorporates certain provisions from World Intellectual Property Organisation's copyright treaty to synchronise the Indian act with the global order.

Supporting the amendments, writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar said writers and musicians were treated like “bonded labour” in the industry where businessmen and multinational companies dictated the terms.

Giving examples of yesteryear's music greats like Khemchand Prakash, O P Nayyar, Shailendra and Ghulam Mohammed, the nominated member in his maiden speech highlighted the plight of past masters who encountered extreme penury in the fag end of their lives even as music companies profited from their works.

“Khemchand Prakash's wife was begging on Malad station. O P Nayyar who once featured in film posters instead of hero and heroine, lived in a small room of one of his fans in Mumbai suburb and thrived on his earnings from homeopathy,” he said.

Jaya Bachhan, another prominent member from film fraternity in the Upper House, has also been a big supporter of changes to the Copyright Act.

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