Information Technology

Govt seeks public comments on amendment targeting online film piracy

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is seeking public comments on amendments to the Cinematography Act targeting online film piracy.

The amendment comes from the recommendations of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, 2103, and Shyam Benegal Committee, 2016. The government had introduced The Cinematography (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha on 12.02.2019, after getting approval from the Cabinet. The bill proposes to insert a new Section 6AA and a new sub-section 1A in Section 7 of the Act. The Standing Committee on Information Technology presented the 9th Report on Cinematograph (Amendment Bill), 2019 in both houses of the Parliament on 16.03.2020.

The Ministry has now examined the report and proposes to suitably revise the clauses in the 2019 Bill. It will introduce the revisions by way of Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Provisions relating to certification of films

The amendment proposes to further sub-divide the existing UA (unrestricted public exhibition) category into age-based categories. These subcategories are U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+.

Tacking Online Film Piracy

The Film Industry has been suffering from online film piracy since long. It causes huge losses to the industry as well as the government exchequer. At the moment, there is no provision to check film piracy in the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The amendment proposes to insert a new Section 6AA in the Act.

“6AA. Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall, without the written authorization of the author, be permitted to use any audiovisual recording device in a place 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.”

Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-section, the expression “author” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (d) of section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957.’

The bill also proposes to add a sub-section 1A in Section 7, to provide for penalty for pirating films.

7(1A). If any person contravenes the provisions of section 6AA, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to three years and with a fine which shall not be less than three lakh rupees but which may extend to 5% of the audited gross production cost or with both.”

Provided also that, any act mentioned in Section 52 of the Copyright Act, 1957 (Act 14 of 1957) is not an infringement of the provision of Section 6AA of this Act.”

General Public can comment on the Draft till 2nd July, 2021. Comments can be submitted to [email protected].

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Rohit Ranjan Praveer

Rohit is a practicing advocate at Delhi. Beginning as a tech enthusiast, Rohit always had a keen interest in computer forensics and information security. Building upon these fundamentals, he has undertaken extensive research on various techno-legal topics and continues his pursuit pass on valuable information to the masses, with a zeal to build something that outlasts him.​

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