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Copyright shield for melodies

Lifting popular melodies from old Hindi movies and mixing them with modern jingles may not be easy if changes proposed by the human resource development ministry get implemented.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 01:20 IST

Lifting popular melodies from old Hindi movies and mixing them with modern jingles may not be easy if changes proposed by the human resource development ministry get implemented.

In a bid to protect the artistic rights of popular musicians and lyrists of Bollywood, the ministry has proposed several changes in the Copyright Act, 1957. To re-produce the tune or the lyrics in any from will require permission of the rights holder. But if the period is of less than five years, the approval will have to be taken for the kind of the alternations or re-mix been proposed.

That's not all. The credit to the original creator of the work and the Bollywood film in which the song was picturised will have to be given. Moreover, a royalty — fixed by the Copyright Board — will have to be paid for minimum 50,000 copies.

With this, the officials say, they have accepted a very old demand of the film industry to preserve the melody and provide the financial benefit to its creators.

Attempt has also been made to protect the rights of live performers. Now, the performers will be able to claim damages for any distortion, mutilation or other modification that could be prejudicial to his or her reputation. However, technical changes and live performance in schools by students have been exempted from the purview of the law.

For the first time, the Copyright Amendment Bill proposes to bring computer software and hardware under the purview of law. "Computer software for personal or private use without proper authorisation will mean copyright violation," an official said and it can result in imprisonment of up to two years and fine. Computer piracy in India is said to be the tune of over Rs 10,000 crore and is growing.

The amendment bill also proposes to introduce mandatory optical coding of each CD to prevent copying and protecting Intellectual Property Rights.