New bill to amend copyright laws

New Delhi : Musicians, writers and film directors, who were earlier exploited by producers and music companies, can now hope to reclaim commercial rights to their works and earn royalty from them.

In a radical move, the union cabinet Thursday approved a new bill to amend the 52-year-old Copyright Act that privileges creators above their commercial promoters and gives them the right to earn royalty from their works.

It will be introduced in parliament next year.

One amendment will give “independent rights to authors of literary and musical works in cinematograph films, which were hitherto denied and wrongfully exploited by producers and music companies”, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

Another amendment ensures that the authors of works, particularly songs included in the cinematograph films or sound recordings, receive royalty for commercial exploitation of such work, Soni said.

“It has been proposed to introduce a system of statutory licensing to ensure that the public has access to musical works over the FM radio and TV networks and at the same time the owners of copyright works are also not subject to any disadvantages,” she said.

The human resource development ministry has proposed the amendments in order to gain clarity, remove operational difficulties and to address the newer issues that have emerged in the context of digital technology and the internet.

Amendments are being made to bring the Act in conformity with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Internet Treaties, namely WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) which have set the international standards in these spheres.

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