Regulators

MIB seeks public comments on the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021

General public can send their comments by 2 July.

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New Delhi: The government has sought public comments on the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 which proposes to penalise film piracy with a jail term and empower the Centre to order re-certification of an already certified film in case of complaints.

The general public can send their comments on the draft bill by 2 July.

“The ministry of information and broadcasting proposes to introduce the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which will make the process of sanctioning of films for exhibition more effective, in tune with the changed times and curb the menace of piracy,” it said in a statement.

Age-based film certification

Among the proposed changes, there are provisions relating to certification of films under ‘unrestricted public exhibition’ category which are proposed to be amended so as to further sub-divide the existing UA category into age-based categories - U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+.

The draft also adds a provision to grant revisionary powers to the government on account of violation of Section 5B (1) (principles for guidance in certifying films) of the Act. “Since the provisions of Section 5B(1) are derived from Article 19(2) of the Constitution and are non-negotiable, it is also proposed in the Draft Bill to add a proviso to sub-section (1) of section 6 to the effect that on receipt of any references by the Central Government in respect of a film certified for public exhibition, on account of violation of Section 5B(1) of the Act, the Central Government may, if it considers it necessary so to do, direct the chairman of the Board to re-examine the film,” said the ministry.

Prohibition of unauthorized recording

The release of pirated versions of films on the internet, causes huge losses to the film industry and government exchequer. “In most cases, illegal duplication in cinema halls is the originating point of piracy. At present, there are no enabling provisions to check film piracy in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 making it necessary to have a provision in the Act to check film piracy,” said the ministry in a press statement.

The draft bill proposes to insert section 6AA which prohibits unauthorised recording, according to which, no person shall, without the written authorization of the author, be permitted to use any audio-visual recording device in a place to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof.

“If any person contravenes the provisions of section 6AA, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to three years and with a fine which shall not be less than Rs three lakh but which may extend to five percent of the audited gross production cost or with both,” it added.

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019

The government had introduced the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha in February, 2019 to impose strict penalties against unauthorised duplication of films in cinema halls. The draft Bill prohibited a person from using a recording device to make a copy of a film, without authorisation and made it a punishable crime with an imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, or both.

Later, the standing committee on information technology (2019-20) presented its report on the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on 16 March 2020.

“The observations and recommendations made by the committee in the report have been examined and it is proposed to suitably revise the clauses in the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 based on the recommendations,” said the ministry.

The comments may be submitted at the following email address: dhanpreet.kaur@ips.gov.in

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