Monday, July 31, 2023

Lok Sabha passes the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill to curb film piracy

The Lok Sabha today passed the Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2023, prohibiting unauthorized recording and exhibition of films to curb film piracy. The Rajya Sabha has already passed the Bill. The bill has provisions for up to three-year jail term and a fine of up to five per cent of the production cost of a film for persons making its pirated copies.

The Bill also seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952 under which the certificate issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was valid for 10 years. Now, the certificate will be perpetually valid. It also has provisions to introduce three age-based certifications under the 'UA' category, namely 'UA 7+', 'UA 13+' and 'UA 16+', and to empower the (CBFC) to sanction a film with a separate certificate for its exhibition on television or other media.

Replying to a brief discussion over the Bill, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said, the credibility of Indian films has increased immensely across the world and the country is producing the highest number of films. Talking about the merits of the Bill, he said, this legislation will benefit every person associated with the film industry. He said, this will check the piracy which is causing huge loss to the film industry.

Mr. Thakur added that "Film piracy is like cancer and this bill will try to root it out. The film industry is incurring loss of around 22,000 crore rupees every year due to piracy. The Bill is also intended to prohibit the unauthorized recording of the films and ease the process of licensing procedure as the certificates will be perpetually valid. Lauding the achievement made by the Indian Films and documentary in the Oscar, Mr. Thakur said, Indian film industry has a huge potential to become content hub of the world. Films like RRR and the Elephant Whisperers (documentary) have earned laurels for the country at the world stage. He expressed confidence that the Indian film industry will win more awards in the future also.

The Bill is intended to ensure that the film content does not suffer due to piracy as the menace causes heavy loss to the industry. The Bill prohibits the unauthorized recording and exhibition of films. Attempting an unauthorized recording will be an offence with imprisonment between three months and three years. It will also attract a fine between three lakh rupees and five percent of the audited gross production cost. The Bill has a provision to add certain additional certificate categories based on age. Films with an ‘A’ or ‘S’ certificate will require a separate certificate for exhibition on television, or any other media prescribed by the central government.

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