Copyright Amendment Bill, 2010. : A Bird’s Eye View The
Copyright is a form of intellectual property whose importance has increased enormously in the recent times due to rapid technological development in the field of printing, music, communication, entertainment and computer industries. The last amendment to the copyright act was done way back in the year 1999. Since then a lot of advancements and developments have taken place across all sectors affected by the Copyright Act. An amendment to answer certain issues like authorship of cinematographic films, exceptions to infringement, digital rights management, statutory licensing, piracy through computer networks etc has been in the pipe lines since 2006. It was on 19 April, 2010 that The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal.
The Copyright Amendment Bill, 2010 proposes to bring the following changes.
Certain terms like ‘author’ and ‘commercial rental’ have been amended to include other provisions under their ambit. Terms like ‘Rights management Information’, ‘visual recording’ and ‘work of sculpture’ are being introduced for the first time.
· As per the existing law, it is the producer who owns the copyright over the work done for hire and is entitled to all the profits. The amendment seeks to provide a more balanced regime in terms of distribution of rights amongst the ‘creators’. The definition of an author would include the principal director with respect to a cinematographic film and the producer would be an author too with respect to sound recording. The producer and the principal director would be treated jointly as the first owner of copyright.
· “Commercial Rental” will not include rental, lease or lending of a lawfully acquired copy of a computer program, sound recording, visual recording or cinematographic work for non - profit purposes by a library or educational institutions. Such amendment has been proposed to protect the interests of researchers, students and educational institutions so as to ensure that technological measures do not act as a barrier for further development of the technology and that copyright does not become an obstacle for non-commercial use.
· Importing of a copy of a work published outside India with the permission of the author would not be an infringing copy.
· A performer to ensure protection of his rights needs to be acknowledged anywhere including the credits of the film though it is not necessary regarding moral rights of a performer under the amended article 38A.
· Certain terms like The Rights Management Information, “Visual recordings” and “work of sculpture” are proposed to be introduced. The term ‘owner of rights’ is proposed to be substituted by ‘author of works’
Meaning of Copyright:
· Artistic works stored in electronic medium or other means too would be under the meaning of copyright. The same would be for cinematographic films and sound recordings. This amendment is with a view to include the technological developments in the form of storage of copyrighted works. It is one of the most important amendments as regards cyber piracy is concerned.
· Reporting of a current event including reporting of lectures delivered in public will not be infringement of copyright.
Term of Copyright:
· Term of copyright in cinematographic films shall now subsist until seventy years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year after the film is published. It is proposed to be increased from the existing sixty years rule to bring it in conformity with the international law.
Other Important Provisions
· The proposed amendment under section 18 provides that assignment of a work does not extend to assignment with respect to a medium or mode of exploitation that did not exist or was not in commercial use in relation to the assigned work unless the agreement expressly provides otherwise.
· The assignment agreement must also state other consideration other than royalty if agreed by the parties. Any assignment that is contrary to an assignment made to a copyright society shall be void. (Proposed amendment to Section 19.) The owner of a copyright need not sign a license agreement in order for the agreement to be valid. (Proposed amendment to section 30.)
· As per the proposed amendment to section 22, the term of the copyright of a photograph shall be life of the author plus sixty (60) years.
· As per the proposed amendment to section 31, a compulsory license may be granted to a foreign work also. Furthermore, a compulsory license may be granted to more than one person.
· As per the amendment proposed to section 33, copyright societies may be registered only by authors. The new section 33A sought to be introduced proposed for publication of the tariff by the copyright society and its review. As per the amendment to Sections 34 and 35, the copyright society shall be administered by the authors.
· The new section 38A proposed to be incorporated by the Amendment Bill provides the rights of the performers. As per the section, a performer has the exclusive right to do or authorize the doing of any of the acts in respect of the performance or any substantial part thereof, without prejudice to the rights conferred on authors, namely, to make a sound recording or a visual recording of the performance or to do certain acts in respect of such recording, to reproduce it in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic or any other means, to issue copies of it to the public not being copies already in circulation, to communicate it to the public, to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for commercial rental any copy of the recording and to broadcast or communicate the performance to the public except where the performance is already a broadcast performance.
· If a performer consents through a written to incorporation of the performance in a cinematographic work, he shall not object to enjoyment of such right by the producer. Notwithstanding the aforesaid, the performer shall be entitled for making of performances for commercial use.
· As per section 38B, the performer shall have moral right of attribution as a performer unless omission is dictated by manner of use of performance. Furthermore, a performer also has the right to prevent mutilation or modification that would be prejudicial to his reputation.
· The copyrights to foreign works and foreign broadcasts have been brought in line with rights to Indian works. (Proposed section 40 and 40A.)
· The new Section 53 provides for detention of infringing copies of copyrighted works by the customs authorities and related proceedings. The provisions are aimed at bringing objectivity to the process of seizure of infringing copies proposed to be imported into India.
· The proposed amendment to Section 57 seek to extend the scope of moral rights by making moral rights valid even after the term of copyright expires. Furthermore, the proposed amendment also provides that authorship rights may also be claimed by the author's legal representatives.
Though the Copyright Amendment Bill is yet to see the light of the day, it effectively addresses the various concerns in the existing copyright law. If passed into a law, it would go a long way to ensure that the Indian law is at par with the other international laws regarding copyrights. Certain issues like piracy of copyrighted material and selling through grey market, illegal sharing of copyright material through computer networks etc. still needs to be addressed. Prevention of undue advantage by broadcasters and prior acknowledgment of the author with proper advance royalty would ensure that the interest of the author is protected and due acknowledgment is given to his work before it is published or broadcasted.
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org