I&B ministry proposes provisions to check piracy

I&B ministry proposes provisions to check piracy

I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore

The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has proposed an amendment in the Cinematograph Act, 1952, to hand down maximum three-years imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs 10 lakh to those guilty of film piracy.

The ministry has come up with a draft bill to amend the Cinematograph Act to introduce penal provisions for piracy of films, particularly the release of pirated version of films on the internet.

It has circulated a draft cabinet note for inter-ministerial consultation for including the penal provisions through an amendment in the Act.

“Film piracy, particularly release of pirated version of films on internet, causes huge losses to the film industry and government exchequer. It is, therefore, felt necessary to have enabling provision in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 in order to check film piracy,” the ministry has said in a notification and invited comments and suggestions from people by February 2.

The ministry has initiated the move after several instances of the unlawful release of the pirated versions of the films were brought to the notice of the Union government.

“Instances have been brought to the knowledge of the government through a number of court orders, wherein Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been directed to block identified illegal/infringing/rogue websites alleged to be showing pirated contents,” I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore told Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question on the issue recently.

Section 7 of the Cinematograph Act currently provides for penalties for contravention of the provisions of certification of films for public exhibition.

To provide for punishment for film piracy, the ministry has proposed for inclusion of a new sub-section in Section 7 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

“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 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.” the proposed sub-section stipulates.

Any person who abets 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 also be liable for same punishment, according to the proposed amendment.