The copyright wars

As India emerges as one of the biggest world publishing markets, intellectual property rights become a more contentious issue with authors, artists and other creative persons asserting their rights and the government attempting to bring the industry practices in tune with the international treaties in a more globalised environment.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Jan 23, 2011 01:30 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | BySatya Prakash

As India emerges as one of the biggest world publishing markets, intellectual property rights become a more contentious issue with authors, artists and other creative persons asserting their rights and the government attempting to bring the industry practices in tune with the international treaties in a more globalised environment.

Object of the Amendment

The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, likely to be introduced in the Budget Session, is being brought in “to remove operational difficulties and also to address certain newer issues that have emerged in the context of digital technologies and the Internet” in view of the two World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Internet Treaties. Accordingly, the Amendment aims to achieve it by expanding the definition of “copyright” and introducing a system of statutory licensing to protect the owners of literary or musical works and including a system of compulsory licensing of copyrighted works for the benefit of the disabled, with the prior approval of the Copyright Board. It also aims at protecting performer’s rights, including, allowing them to make sound or visual recordings of their performances and reproduce them in any medium, issue copies to the public or sell or rent a copy of the recording.

Background

The Copyright Act, 1957 defines the rights of authors of creative works such as books, music, films and other works of art, and computer software, who are the original owners of copyright in these works and have a ‘bundle of rights’ i.e. to distribute, perform, translate and adapt the work and these rights can also be assigned to others. The Act provides for copyright societies, which issue licences for copyrighted works and collect royalties on behalf of rights holders. Copyright in literary, artistic and musical works lies with the author and his/her heirs till 60 years after his death. Copyright in photos, films and sound recordings persist for 60 years after the work is made. It prescribes penalties for copyright infringement.

Highlights of Bill

Copyright in a film currently rests with the producer for 60 years. But the Bill extends it to a director as well, but for 70 years. In some cases, this amendment also applies to films produced before the Bill. The Bill makes special provisions for those whose work is used in films or sound recordings (e.g. lyricists or composers). Rights to royalties from such works, when used in media other than films or sound recordings, shall rest with the creator of the work and can only be assigned to heirs, or copyright societies which act in their interests.

The controversy

But one of the most controversial provisions in the Bill from the point of view of publishing industry is clause 2(m), according to which a copy of a work published in any country outside India with the permission of the author and imported from that country into India shall not be deemed to be an infringing copy. It implies that book published in a foreign country can be imported impacting the local publishing industry, which is in a take off stage. The publishing industry claims that it can also affect the low-priced editions of textbooks published in the UK and the US thereby depriving Indian students of cheaper textbooks published abroad.

Expert’s View

Intellectual Property Rights Lawyer Sumathi Chandrshekaran said: "This amendment (the proviso to clause 2(m)), if cleared, is likely to change the book publishing industry. For a consumer, it may mean lower pricing and access to texts that may otherwise have not been available. For the publishers, it may involve moving away from English-language publishing to looking at texts in other Indian languages, where the import clause will not affect business. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing."
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • IKEA opened its store in Bengaluru on June 22.

    IKEA to shift purchasing office from Gurugram to Bengaluru

    After vowing 3,000 crore of investment in Karnataka and opening India's largest store in Bengaluru's Nagasandra, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA has now decided to shift its purchasing office from Gurugram to Bengaluru, starting May 1, 2023, news agency PTI reported. IKEA, while speaking about its brand new store in the Karnataka capital, said it aims to source around 50 per cent of its products locally.

  • In 2018, the scheme was stalled after the LG did not approve it.

    Govt may challenge HC order scrapping ration delivery plan

    The Delhi government may challenge a decision by the Delhi high court to scrap the contentious doorstep delivery of ration scheme, which was aimed at providing specific food articles to the homes of Public Distribution System beneficiaries. There are around 1.7 million ration card holders in the national capital who currently go to fair price shops to get the food articles they are entitled to.

  • Vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam as the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH-44) reopens after it was closed following the landslide that occurred recently, at Samroli, in Udhampur on Friday. (ANI)

    Jammu-Srinagar national highway reopened, stranded vehicles allowed towards Kashmir

    Banihal/Udhampur/Jammu Hundreds of vehicles, stranded for four days, were allowed towards Kashmir on Friday night as one way was restored on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway after freshly building a road stretch to replace the one washed away in flash floods, officials said. Senior Superintendent of Police national highway, Shabir Ahmad Malik said while all blockades were removed and traffic cleared, the major problem of washing away of the road patch at Dewal bridge near Samroli on June 21 took three-and-half-days to be cleared.

  • The cinema takes its name from the family that ran it.

    Delhiwale: This way to Golcha

    As part of our 'Walled City dictionary' series that explores the names of Old Delhi places. Despite being a mere courtesan, Anarkali dares Emperor Akbar with a spunky dance. Golcha cinema, in Daryaganj, is screening the digitally coloured version of the classic Mughal-e-Azam. The single-screen hall shut down six years ago (last movie screened was Kahani 2). Golcha came up in 1954. The theatre is now a ghost of its recent past.

  • The territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been selected by the ministry for external affairs (MEA) for G-20 meetings during the summit of the high-profile grouping to be hosted by India in 2023. (HT File Photo)

    Jammu and Kashmir to host G20 summit next year, 5-member panel formed

    The Jammu and Kashmir government has constituted a five-member high-powered panel for overall coordination of G20 meetings to be held in the union territory next year. Acting upon a communique from the Union ministry of external affairs dated June 4, the principal secretary to the J&K government, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi accorded sanction for the constitution of the five-member panel.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, June 25, 2022