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Centre’s action against ‘Pirated content’ on digital platforms

  • Published
    4th Nov, 2023

Recently, the government has appointed nodal officers to order taking down pirated content from digital platforms and making stringent measure aimed at checking film piracy.

  • The decision came in the wake of the Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023, which was passed in Parliament recently.
  • Presently, there is no institutional framework in place to directly take action on pirated film content other than legal action under the Copyright Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

About the Information:

  • Government have appointed 12 nodal officers in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Central Bureau of Film Certification (CBFC) with whom complaints related to film piracy can be lodged and action will be taken within 48 hours.
  • As per the ministries’ order, those indulging in piracy could now be fined from 3 lakh to five per cent of the gross audited value of production.
  • An original copyright holder or anybody authorised by them can apply to a nodal officer to have pirated content removed.
  • If a complaint is filed by someone who does not have the copyright or is not authorised by the copyright holder, the Nodal Officer may hold hearings to determine the complaint’s validity before giving directives.

What are the platforms?

  • A statement by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry digital platforms – such as YouTube, Telegram channels, websites or other online platforms will be required by law to remove internet links with pirated content.

What does content piracy means?

  • Piracy refers to the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content that is then sold at substantially lower prices in the 'grey' market.
  • The ease of access to technology has meant that over the years, piracy has become more rampant.

Reasons for Piracy of content:

  • Piracy has increased due to the expansion of the internet and the desire of practically everyone to consume film content for free and this step would empower them to take immediate action in cases of piracy, providing relief to the businesses.

Need for regulation:

  • Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023: According to the Union Minister, the Act aimed to curb film piracy, a measure which has been a long-standing demand of the film industry.
  • The Act was amended after 40 years to incorporate provisions against film piracy, including digital piracy after the last significant amendments were made in 1984.

Legal actions against piracy in India:

  • Indian Penal Code, 1860: The act of counterfeiting or piracy will involve cheating under Section 415 of IPC and whoever cheats is liable to an imprisonment of one year or fine or both.
  • Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023: The Bill has provisions for up to three-year jail term and a fine of up to five per cent of the production cost of a film for persons making pirated copies of movies.
  • Information Technology Act of 2000 is another piece of law that addresses digital piracy.
    • Section 66 of the Information Technology Act punishes unauthorized online distribution of copyrighted content with up to 3 years in prison and fines of up to Rs.2 lakhs..
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