Indian Copyright Amendment Bill, 2010 Copyright is a form of intellectual property whose importance has increased enormously in the recent times due to rapid technological development in the field of printing, music, communication, entertainment and computer industries. The last amendment to the copyright act was done way back in the year 1999. Since then a lot of advancements and developments have taken place across all sectors affected by the Copyright Act. An amendment to answer certain issues like authorship of cinematographic films, exceptions to infringement, digital rights management, statutory licensing, piracy through computer networks etc has been in the pipe lines since 2006. It was on 19 April, 2010 that The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal. The Copyright Amendment Bill, 2010 proposes to bring the following changes. Definitions: Certain terms like ‘author’ and ‘commercial rental’ have been amended to include other provisions under their ambit. Terms like ‘Rights management Information’, ‘visual recording’ and ‘work of sculpture’ are being introduced for the first time. · As per the existing law, it is the producer who owns the copyright over the work done for hire and is entitled to all the profits. The amendment seeks to provide a more balanced regime in terms of distribution of rights amongst the ‘creators’. The definition of an author would include the principal director with respect to a cinematographic film and the producer would be an author too with respect to sound recording. The producer and the principal director would be treated jointly as the first owner of copyright. · “Commercial Rental” will not include rental, lease or lending of a lawfully acquired copy of a computer program, sound recording, visual recording or cinematographic work for non - profit purposes by a library or educational institutions. Such amendment has been proposed to protect the interests of researchers, students and educational institutions so as to ensure that technological measures do not act as a barrier for further development of the technology and that copyright does not become an obstacle for non-commercial use. · Importing of a copy of a work published outside India with the permission of the author would not be an infringing copy. · A performer to ensure protection of his rights needs to be acknowledged anywhere including the credits of the film though it is not necessary regarding moral rights of a performer under the amended article 38A. · Certain terms like The Rights Management Information, “Visual recordings” and “work of sculpture” are proposed to be introduced. The term ‘owner of rights’ is proposed to be substituted by ‘author of works’ Meaning of Copyright: · Artistic works stored in electronic medium or other means too would be under the meaning of copyright. The same would be for cinematographic films and sound recordings. This amendment is with a view to include the technological developments in the form of storage of copyrighted works. It is one of the most important amendments as regards cyber piracy is concerned. · Reporting of a current event including reporting of lectures delivered in public will not be infringement of copyright. Term of Copyright: · Term of copyright in cinematographic films shall now subsist until seventy years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year after the film is published. It is proposed to be increased from the existing sixty years rule to bring it in conformity with the international law. Compulsory Licensing: To tackle with the problem of pilfering and misuse of copyrighted works, the amendment act seeks to introduce the measure of compulsory licensing to ensure that the authors are duly recognized and their royalties are paid in advance. · Under the new law, an application can be made to the copyright board for a license to publish or communicate a work or its translation of an author who is dead or unknown or cannot be found. · A form of compulsory licensing is also to be introduced for the disabled class for conversion of works to languages like ‘Braille’. · As regards cover versions of songs, the person making the sound recording is to give prior notice of his intentions and provide advance copies. The royalty for such work has to be paid in advance. Any alterations to be made in the literary or musical work shall be made only by prior consent. Such a license can only be obtained after five years since the first recording was made. · The royalty in such sound recordings shall be for a minimum of fifty thousand copies though a lower minimum may be set for works in a particular language or dialect depending upon the circulation. All books of accounts have to be maintained regarding stocks of such works. · Radio broadcasters of literary, musical works or sound recordings will have to give a notice of intention stating the duration, territory and coverage of broadcast. The names of authors will have to be announced with the broadcast. · The royalty may be paid according to the rate fixed by the Copyright Board. All such royalties may have to be paid in advance. Rights of Performers: The existing performers’ rights are proposed to be further enhanced by introducing a new section to provide exclusive rights compatible with WPPT (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty) and WCT (WIPO Copyright Treaty) which have set the international standards in these spheres. 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. · A performer can authorize or regulate certain acts with respect to his performance such as visual recording, reproduction, issuing of copies of work which are not in circulation, public communication of his performance, broadcasting rights etc. · Removal of portion of work can only be for editing purposes, limit the duration of the work or other technical reasons and under no other circumstances can modification of the work be done. Copyright Societies: · The author is to assign his rights to legal heirs and copyright societies only. Any other assignment shall be void. · Every copyright society shall publish its tariff scheme. Protection of Technological Measure: · Circumventing of a technological measure applied for protection of rights shall be punishable with two years imprisonment and fine. · The necessity to conduct an encryption research, lawful investigation, testing the security, identification or surveillance purposes or in the interest of national security shall not be prohibited. Though the Copyright Amendment Bill is yet to see the light of the day, it effectively addresses the various concerns in the existing copyright law. If passed into a law, it would go a long way to ensure that the Indian law is at par with the other international laws regarding copyrights. Certain issues like piracy of copyrighted material and selling through grey market, illegal sharing of copyright material through computer networks etc. still needs to be addressed. Prevention of undue advantage by broadcasters and prior acknowledgment of the author with proper advance royalty would ensure that the interest of the author is protected and due acknowledgment is given to his work before it is published or broadcasted.