Directors peeved on new Copyright Act

MUMBAI: Directors of Film and Television are angered and up in arms against the amended copyright act.

Indian Film and Television Directors‘ Association (IFTDA) with its over 5,000 members have protested against the HRD ministry‘s parliamentary committee that has omitted the word ‘director‘ as the principal author from the list of beneficiaries in the revised Copyright Act.

Throughout the world, the film is considered as a work of art and treated as the director‘s personal vision. The European Union law protects the director‘s work like an original copyright holder. In America, director shares the bounty via residuals through the life of the film.

Comments director Krishna Shah, "American Directors‘ Guild is one of the most powerful trade bodies in Hollywood taking best possible care of its members. Where ever I may be, my copyright benefits from my earlier directorial ventures get passed on to me without fail. It is scary the way directors and their trade body out here get marginalized."

Prominent film directors and representatives of IFTDA and their over 5000 members of Screen and TV directors and assistants feels insulted and humiliated by some of its associates from the film world misguiding/manipulating the concerned authorities for their ulterior motives. 

Says IFTDA CCO and Mumbai-based director Uday Shankar Pani, "Being refused of our very existence as the ‘author‘ of a film is like being convicted, sentenced without a trial. Our records show that time and again, IFTDA has written to ministry, referred by Maharashtra ex- CM Vilasrao Deshmukh and Union Minister Dr Veerappa Moily, pointing out our views and objections.

"Lack of any response and a sudden omission from the list proves a cleverly , manipulated ploy to keep the directors out. Such motives will only divide the film family in times to come and adversely affect the Indian Film Industry! Government should leave it to the film industry to sort out this issue among ourselves and then forward it to them for endorsement!"

Thus even the HRD Ministry that proposes to protect the rights of scriptwriters, lyricists, composers and sound recordists, has left out the film directors. Directors have got their heads together and are acting swiftly before the recommendations get tabled. They are determined to use all their power to keep up their prestige, honour by getting the copyright benefits.

If this is not done, the consequences to come in the future would be very bad. Come what may, director‘s will not leave their copyright and let some producers/actors/writers rule the game?

Grumbles director Mohan Siroya, "Now is not the time for mere seminars and discussions, but action. First thing is IFTDA, or similar bodies, if any, should immediately file a writ petition in the High Court or Supreme Court seeking directives not to pass the proposed amendments."

Every one in the film industry says the man behind the ruckus is Javed Akhtar. "When it all started the ‘Principal Director‘ did appear on the top of the list of beneficiaries for copyright benefits. In the absence of any representation from Directors , they missed out being considered as ‘author‘ in the amended copyright Act by the parliamentary committee. Producers played a key role in getting the directors getting omitted from the list, " Akhtar explains.

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