Proposed Copyright Amendment Bill

In the recent past, there have been a proposed set of amendments to the Copyright Act, which however, seem to be having a little trouble getting beyond the draft bill stage. While not much progress has occurred after this initial draft bill stage, the proposed amendments themselves are quite noteworthy. Indeed, back in 2006, there appears to be a response by ALF and a group of other NGOs to the HRD ministry with regard to certain proposed amendments. The draft bill as it stands today, was available on the website till the recent update (posted about in this previous post) of the site. While the site is much improved in most aspects, these proposed amendments strangely seem to have just disappeared off the site now. The Indian Express and the TOI have mentioned that these amendments are finally up for discussion before the ministry, however it does not seem possible to locate an actual copy of this currently. As well intentioned as these provisions may be, it is rather lacking in terms of transparency that these are now not available for the public.

Moving on to the substance of these proposed amendments, the HRD ministry seeks to provide for a more balanced regime in terms of rights distribution among ‘creators’ through this bill. It seeks to ensure that all the ‘creative artists’ involved in a work, such as the singers, lyricists, music directors, film directors, etc receive more appropriate royalty for their work. This comes as a very welcome move for artists, especially singers and directors, who have been calling for a new royalty payment system for a long time now. In fact, the Indian Express reports that these proposed amendments came after a complaint from the likes of Javed Akhtar, Shubha Mudgal and Jagjit Singh among others, to the Prime Minister, regarding the loss of all rights after the standard practice of assigning rights to the producer.

The bill also refers to non-assignable rights such as ‘moral rights’ and ‘the right of integrity’. The right of integrity goes towards ensuring that the reputation of an artist does not get tainted by giving him the right to prevent others from doing something to his work that can damage his reputation and name, thus preventing distortion and mutilation of work. Along similar lines, the amendments also talk about remixes and cover versions of songs. It says that the provisions should not go so far as to prohibit, or through unnecessarily stringent provisions, effectively prohibit / restrict remixes altogether.

In addition, the period of protection of copyrighted work is to be extended from 60 years to 70 years on the condition that the producer shares royalty with the director as well. Another important provision is the removal of all copyright fees which arise from allowing access, through means of conversion of works, to all categories of disabled people.

It is to be seen however, in the final bill (which will hopefully be made available to the public before it is passed), if the balance between protecting a creator’s interest and protecting the public’s interest is maintained, since it should be kept in mind, that broadly speaking, easier access to creative works has generally resulted in more creation.


About The Author

5 thoughts on “Proposed Copyright Amendment Bill”

  1. This seems long overdue but a basic requirement appears to be as yet skimmed over. All tax-payer funded work – that is work done by government should be in public-domain (that is, not under any form of copyright) This is especially important if RTI 2005 clauses are to make any sense for instance but in a general sense is something that is part of the normal spirit of democracy. The Indian Act is based on the archaic Crown copyright which is based on a constitutional monarchy rather than a proper democracy. Jefferson’s Candle metaphor should be a guiding spirit for Indians.—-000-notes.html

  2. There is another beauty in the new amendment – I think the authors have no clue about the nature of libraries in the current era. The Internet Archive for instance is legally a library in the US.

    Now the new amendment says – any digital copy stored in a library (not for profit public) is not a copyright infringement… as long as the “library” has a hardcopy.

    Fantastic – I am going to scan all my books and upload them to the Internet Archive ! We are the library (and we own a hardcopy) in the current age. It is also wonderful since it makes peer-to-peer file-sharing legal if we consider each person’s computer as a public not-for-profit library.

    So I suppose the Indian government will now make a registered libraries act and then make a new status for a legal library ! License Raj library…

  3. copyright protection in terms of icesing activity in clubs are necessary.since all major alcohole manufactures are doing major acvities in clubs,since judges are closly associated as members with all good clubs in country so copyright societies cant touch them so they remain unlicensed ,it is major loss to all……………plz

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top