Cinematograph Bill: Curbing Piracy Passed by RS

Cinematograph Bill Aimed at Curbing Piracy Passed by RS


The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which adds strict anti-piracy provisions and broadens the law’s purview beyond censorship to include copyright, was approved by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

What is Digital Piracy?

Digital piracy is the term for the unauthorized copying or dissemination of intellectual property through the Internet. The creative industries—including publishing, music, gaming, television, and film—are adversely impacted.

How is Digital Piracy affecting the Indian Entertainment industry?

  • In India’s entertainment and music sector, digital piracy is a serious issue that results in annual revenue losses of up to USD 2.8 billion.
  • Due to its high levels of piracy, India is ranked 43rd out of 55 nations in the International IP Index. With the rise of the internet and social media, piracy has increased, with streaming making up more than 80% of pirated content. Film piracy increased by 62% during the pandemic.
  • A lack of understanding and strict IP laws are contributing factors to the rise of piracy, along with easy access to inexpensive or free content and technological improvements. Piracy interferes with original works, has an effect on livelihoods, and hinders the expansion of the creative sector.

What is the recent bill passed to counter this issue and how is it going to help the industry?

  • Amendment to the Cinematograph Act of 1952:
    •  The proposed legislation aims to change the existing Cinematograph Act, which handles film certification and screenings.
    • The new anti-piracy and copyright protection laws will be incorporated into the legislation.
  • Anti-Piracy Provisions: 
    • The bill enacts strict regulations to stop movie piracy.
    • It broadens the reach of the legislation to include censorship in addition to violations of copyright.
  • Punishments for piracy:
    • People who are discovered producing or sending illegal copies of movies while utilizing audiovisual recording equipment in a theatre will face repercussions.
    • A prison sentence of up to three years is one of the suggested punishments.
    • In addition, fines of up to 5% of the cost of making the video are possible for offenders.
  • Central Board of Film Certification:
    • Even after the bill is put into effect, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which certifies films for showing, won’t have its choices subject to government review.
    • The goal of this is to preserve the CBFC’s autonomy and independence while deciding whether to provide certification.
  • Age Ratings:
    •  The bill calls for the implementation of age ratings for movies, which would identify the target audience by age.
    • U/A 7+ (Parental guidance for children above 7), U/A 13+ (Parental guidance for children above 13), and U/A 16+ (Parental guidance for children above 16) are the three age ratings that are suggested.
  • Adult-Rated Films Banned on Television: 
    • Since a 2004 Bombay High Court ruling, adult-rated (A-rated) films have mostly been banned from being broadcast on television.
    • The measure formalizes the practice of broadcasters voluntarily removing adult-rated movies from television broadcasts to receive a lower classification (U/A) from the CBFC.
  • Adoption and application:
    • The proposal has already been approved by the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament).
    • The measure must be approved by the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) to become law.
    • The President’s approval is necessary for the bill to become an Act after it has been approved by both chambers of Parliament.