Move to curb film piracy: Nodal Officers to take action against piracy

Law amended; Officers appointed in MIB, CBFC authorised to remove content on digital platforms

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Geetanjali Minhas | November 3, 2023 | Mumbai


#Cinema   #Entertainment   #ministry of information and broadcasting   #Anurag Thakur   #Law   #Piracy   #Internet  
Minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur (File Photo)
Minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur (File Photo)

With the issue of piracy causing losses of Rs 20,000 crore annually to the Indian film industry, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has now established institutional mechanism of Nodal Officers to receive complaints against piracy and direct the intermediaries to take down pirated content on digital platforms.

These officers have been appointed in MIB and offices of the Central Board of Film Certification headquarters in Mumbai as well as its regional offices in major film production centres.

“With the proliferation of the internet, almost everyone wants to watch filmic content for free leading to a boom in piracy. Years’ worth of effort that goes into making a film is laid waste by piracy. To act against this menace, the government passed this Act, a move which has been widely welcomed by the industry,” minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur said in New Delhi on Friday.

During the Monsoon Session held earlier this year, the parliament passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 1952. Now with institutional mechanism of Nodal Officers, these officers will receive complaints against piracy and direct the intermediaries to take down pirated content on digital platforms. As at now, legal action could only be taken under Copyright Act and IPC.  The industry can now expect instant action by MIB in case of piracy.

The amendment includes strict punishment of minimum 3 months imprisonment and fine of Rs. 3 lakh extendable up to 3 years imprisonment and fine up to 5% of the audited gross production cost.

The newly inserted section 6AB of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 provides that no person shall use or abet the use of an infringing copy of any film to exhibit to the public for profit at a place of exhibition which has not been licensed under this Act or the rules made thereunder; or in a manner that amounts to the infringement of copyright under the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957 or any other law for the time being in force. Further, the newly inserted section 7(1B)(ii) in the Cinematograph Act provides that the Government may take suitable action for removing/disabling access to such an infringing copy exhibited/hosted on an intermediary platform in a manner in contravention to the section 6AB referred to above.

Criteria for application

The original copyright holder or any person authorised by the original copyright holder for this purpose can apply to the Nodal Officer to take down pirated content. If a complaint is raised by a person who does not hold the copyright or is not authorised by the copyright holder, the Nodal Officer can hold hearings on a case to case basis to decide the genuineness of the complaint before issuing the directions.

After receiving directions from the Nodal Officer under the law, the digital platform will be obliged to remove such internet links hosting pirated content within a period of 48 hours.

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