3-year jail term or Rs 10 lakh fine for unauthorised camcording of films

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) for introducing the Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2019 to amend to the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The Bill aims to tackle film piracy by including the penal provisions for unauthorised camcording and duplication of films. 

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, while presenting the Interim Budget for 2019-2020 in Parliament on February 1, 2019, had announced that the Government would introduce anti-camcording provisions in the Cinematograph Act to control the menace of piracy. 

In order to tackle the menace of film piracy, the Amendments provide for the insertion of new Section 6AA for prohibition of unauthorised recording. The following section shall be inserted after Section 6A of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

6AA: “Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall without the written authorisation 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 expression author shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in the clause (d) of section 2 of the Copyright act of 1957.) 

Amendment in Section 7 to introduce Penal Provisions for violating provisions of section 6AA: In section 7 of the principal act, after subsection 1 the following subsection (1A) shall be inserted: “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 Rs 10 lakh or with both.” 

The proposed amendments would increase Industry revenues, boost job creation, fulfil important objectives of India’s National IP policy and will give relief against piracy and infringing content online. 

The background 

The medium of cinema, the tools and the technology associated with it and even its audience has undergone radical changes over a period of time. There have also been many changes in the field of media and entertainment with the proliferation of TV channels and Cable network throughout the country, advent of new digital technology, apprehension of piracy, particularly release of pirated version of films on internet, causing huge losses to the film industry and Government exchequer. 

For a long time the film industry has been demanding for a long time that the Government should consider Amendments to the law preventing camcording and piracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement at the inaugural function of the National Museum of Indian Cinema at Mumbai on January 19, 2019 to tackle the menace of camcording and piracy. The MIB piloted this matter for consideration of Union Cabinet.


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