The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010 of India
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which amends the Copyright Act of 1957 was approved by the Lower House of the Indian Parliament on 22 May, 2012. BY SIDDHARTHA SARANGAL
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which amends the Copyright
Act of 1957 was approved by the Lower House of the Indian Parliament
on 22 May, 2012. This means that now it only awaits the assent of
the President and notification by the Government. The Bill, which
had been under consideration for almost two years, brings about a
host of changes to the principal Act.
Some of the major amendments are:
1) With respect to films, the director, apart from the producer, shall hold a copyright in the film. While a new Explanation added to the Act states that both the producer and the director would be considered joint authors, it is not quite apparent as to why the director has been granted the copyright for 70 years and the producer only for 60 years.
2) With respect to sound recordings, the producer has been
granted a copyright. The author of a literary or musical work, which
is used in a film, shall now hold a copyright to the work. Earlier
the author of the film held the copyright to the musical work. This
has been done in the light of a few recent events such as the
prominent Indian classical musicians and singers such as Bismillah
Khan and Khan Mastan living on a bare minimum, with a few not even
being able to pay their rent. This happened because film production
companies bought the rights to their music for peanuts and
subsequently sold or licensed them for huge profits. These musicians
did not have the right to claim any royalties for any of their
musical works while the production companies made money out of them.
3) The author of any literary or musical work that is used in a
film is now not allowed to assign the right to receive royalties for
the same, except as a part of the film, to any person except the
legal heirs of the person. The Act further makes any contracts
contrary to the provision void.
4) Earlier, the Copyright Board could only look into complaints made about withholding the right to republish or perform in public by the copyright owner of Indian work. Indian work had been defined as the artistic work of an Indian citizen or a film made or manufactured in India. But now the words “Indian work” have been omitted and complaints could now be made with regard to “any work”.
5) An organization working for the benefit of persons with disability may now apply to the Copyright Board for a compulsory license in which a copyright subsists for the benefit of such persons with disability. The Copyright Board would then give an opportunity of hearing to the owner of the Copyright and subsequently grant a compulsory license to publish to the applicant. This has been done so that different works could be reproduced in such a way that people with disabilities might be able to access them.
6) Anybody who wants to make cover version of any musical work may now do so only after giving a prior notice to the owner of the copyright in the work, providing in advance a copy of the cover or label with which the recording is to be sold and paying to the owner in advance all royalties with respect to the copies made. The power to fix the rate of royalties has been given to the Copyright Board. However, such a copy or cover cannot be made within the first five years of the publishing of the original musical work.
7) Before the amendment, the author was allowed to restrain or claim damages for distortion, modification or mutilation of his work only until his copyright subsisted. But now he may do so even beyond the period of subsistence of the copyright. Not just this, his heirs, to whom then he may assign the copyright, also have the right to do so.
About the Author
Siddhartha Sarangal is a second year undergraduate student at National Law University, Delhi pursuing the B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) program.