Press Trust Of India, Thu, Dec 24, 2009
Musicians to have greater say over their works, according to amendment.
New Delhi: Musicians, writers and cinematographers are a step closer to getting royalty for their works used commercially.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved amendments to the Copyright Act of 1957 for introduction in Parliament. One amendment will give "independent rights to authors of literary and musical works in cinematograph films, which were hitherto denied and wrongfully exploited by producers and music companies," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
Another amendment ensures that the authors of works, particularly songs included in the cinematograph films or sound recordings, receive royalty for commercial exploitation of such work, Soni said.
"It has been proposed to introduce a system of statutory licensing to ensure that the public has access to musical works over the FM radio and TV networks and at the same time the owners of copyright works are also not subject to any disadvantages," she said.
The News Broadcasters Association had been apprehensive about the amendments and asked the government to ensure that nothing was done to hurt the "well-established and understood rights of broadcasters to fair use of material, including broadcast reproduction rights."
Earlier, only the film's producer had the copyright of the product. After the amendment in the Act, however, the term of copyright for cinematograph films has been extended by making the producers and principal director as joint authors (of the film).
Soni said the amendments were proposed by the HRD Ministry to gain clarity, remove operational difficulties and address newer issues that have emerged in the context of digital technology and Internet.
The newly introduced copyright term will be for 70 years and can be extended by another 10 years provided the producer enters into an agreement with the director.
Amendments are being made to bring the Act in conformity with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Internet Treaties, namely WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) which have set the international standards in these spheres.
WCT deals with the protection for the authors of literary and artistic works such as writings, computer programmes, original databases, musical works, and works of fine art and photographs.
WPPT protects certain related rights of the performers and producers of the phonograms. "While India has not yet signed these treaties it is necessary to amend domestic legislation to extend the copyright protection in the digital environment," Soni said.
The amendments are in conformity with WCT and WPPT, wherein through a new section in the Act, it is proposed to ensure protection to the right holders against circumvention of effective technological measures for protection of his rights like breaking of passwords.
Other amendments made in the music and film industry include provision of statutory licence for version recordings and authorship to ensure that while making a sound recording of any literary, dramatic or musical work the interest of the copyright holder is duly protected.
A clause for addressing the concerns of the physically challenged has been introduced, which aims at giving a fair deal to such people by allowing the production of copies of copyright material in formats specially designed for the physically challenged.
The physically challenged need access to copyright material in specialised formats like Braille text, talking text, electronic text and large print for the visually challenged, and sign language for the aurally challenged.
Currently the cost of production of materials in such formats is very high. With additional requirement of royalty payments the price of such materials to the target groups would be even higher.