- IntroducedRajya SabhaApr 19, 2010Gray
- ReferredStanding CommitteeApr 23, 2010Gray
- ReportStanding CommitteeNov 23, 2010Gray
- PassedRajya SabhaMay 17, 2012Gray
- PassedLok SabhaMay 22, 2012Gray
This Bill amends the Copyright Act, 1957 and seeks to make the provisions of the law in conformity with relevant international treaties. The Bill expands the definition of “copyright” and introduces a system of statutory licensing to protect the owners of literary or musical works. It includes a system of compulsory licensing of copyrighted works for the benefit of the disabled, with the prior approval of the Copyright Board. It also protects performer’s rights, including, allowing them to make sound or visual recordings of their performances and reproduce them in any medium, issue copies to the public or sell or rent a copy of the recording.
Highlights of the Bill
- This Bill amends the Copyright Act, 1957.
- Copyright in a film currently rests with the producer for 60 years. The Bill extends copyright to a director as well, but for 70 years. In some cases, this amendment also applies to films produced before the Bill.
- The Bill makes special provisions for those whose work is used in films or sound recordings (e.g. lyricists or composers). Rights to royalties from such works, when used in media other than films or sound recordings, shall rest with the creator of the work and can only be assigned to heirs, or copyright societies which act in their interests.
- The Bill allows for the production of copyrighted work in special formats (such as Braille), for use by persons with disability, without infringing copyright. It also specifies a procedure by which work can be produced in general formats, for use by such persons.
- The Act gives authors, or their representatives, the right to claim damages against use of their work (while under copyright), in a way which adversely affects their reputation. The Bill allows such a right to be exercised indefinitely, as opposed to being restricted to the term of copyright, as is the case currently.
Key Issues and Analysis
- It is unclear why directors are allowed copyright in a film for 70 years, whereas producers, and authors of other works, are allowed copyright only for 60 years.
- The Bill gives a special set of rights to authors of work used in films and sound recordings (such as scriptwriters and music composers). As these rights are not given to creators of other works, the Bill discriminates between different types of authors.
- The procedure prescribed for the issue of licences to reproduce work in non-specialised formats, for persons with disability, is not time bound. This may make the process less accessible.
- Authors and their representatives may claim damages against the use of even those works which are out of copyright, on grounds that they damage the author’s reputation. This provision may affect creativity and artistic expression of others who build upon an author’s work.