Suggestions invited by the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010 by the Standing Committee on HRD

In a rather welcome move, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development has extended an invitation to all to make constructive and useful suggestions to be considered for incorporation in the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010. The Bill that has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha and is pending there at present, has been referred to the Standing Committee, headed by Shri Oscar Fernandes, MP, Rajya Sabha for examination and report.

The purpose of the Bill is to introduce much-needed amendments in the Copyright Act, 1957 so as to bring it in conformity with World Intellectual Property Organisation’s WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). The former treaty deals with the protection for the authors of literary and artistic works such as writings, computer programmes, original databases, musical works, audio-visual works, works of fine art and photographs. The latter one, i.e. WPPT, on the other hand, seeks to protect certain related rights of the performers and producers of phonograms.

All in all, the amendments that have been proposed in the Bill so far aim to achieve the following effects:
(i) The authors of literary and musical works in cinematograph films should get independent rights of their own;
(ii) Arrangements should be made for storing of copyrights material by electronic means and musical works in the context of digital technology and provide for liability of internet service providers;
(iii) The term of copyright for photographers to ‘life plus sixty years’ should be increased, by way of introducing copyright term of 70 years for principal director and extending the copyright term for producer for another ten years in case of agreement with the principal director;
(iv) Compulsory licensing for certain entities for publication of copyright works in other formats ought to be provided for and the concepts of statutory licensing for version recording of all sound recordings and statutory licensing for radio broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recordings ought to be introduced;
(v) The physically challenged persons ought to be allowed access to
copyright material in specialized formats;
(vi) Arrangements should be made for the formulation and administration of copyright societies by the authors instead of the owners and introduction of tariff scheme by copyright societies;
(vii) It should be ensured that the authors of the works, in particular,
authors of songs included in cinematograph films or sound recordings must receive royalty for commercial exploitation of such works.

With the aforesaid purposes in mind, the Committee has decided to invite memoranda containing views/suggestions from individuals/organizations interested in the subject-matter of the Bill. Such written memoranda, either in English or Hindi, may be sent to Shri J. Sundriyal, Director, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, 141, First Floor, Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi- 110001. (Tel: 23034541 and Fax: 23793633) E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected] within May 31, 2010. Those who are willing to appear before the Committee for oral evidence besides submitting the memoranda may indicate so. However, the Committee’s decision in this regard shall be regarded final and irrevocable.

The memorandum submitted to the Committee would form part of the records of the Committee and would be treated as confidential and would enjoy the usual privileges due to the Committee. The Bill has been published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 2, dated the 19th April, 2010. Copies of the Bill can be obtained on written request to the abovementioned Officer or can be downloaded from the official web-site of the Rajya Sabha ( under the caption “Bills with the Committees”.

Shouvik Kumar Guha

Shouvik Kumar Guha

Shouvik is at present employed as a Research Associate and a Teaching Assistant at The W.B. National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. He has obtained his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS itself and is also currently pursuing his LL.M. degree from the same university. From his very year at law school, he had been attracted towards the discipline of Intellectual Property and that interest has been kindled further in course of time. The interface between IP and other disciplines such as Economics, Anti-trust Law, Human Rights, World Trade Law and the technological developments relating thereto, has especially caught his attention since then. He’s authored several papers on issues relating to IP and other legal disciplines for journals, books, magazines and conferences in national as well as international levels. He is also currently co-heading an organization called Lexbiosis, which is an endeavor meant to facilitate the collaboration between the legal industry and academia.

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