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Copyright Act amended

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal to introduce a Bill to amend the Copyright Act, 1957. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has proposed the amendments in order to bring in clarity, remove operational difficulties and 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. The WCT deals with the protection for the authors of literary and artistic works such as writings, computer programmes, original databases, musical works, audiovisual works, works of fine art and photographs. The WPPT protects certain “related rights” which are the rights of the performers and producers of phonograms. While India has not yet signed the above two treaties it is necessary to amend domestic legislation to extend the copyright protection in the digital environment.

Amendments have 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. The existing Performers’ Rights are proposed to be further enhanced by introducing a new section to provide exclusive rights compatible with WPPT. The period of copyright for photographers is proposed to be enhanced to ‘Life plus sixty years’ instead of only sixty years as at present.

Other amendments are aimed at protecting the music and film industry and address its concerns, protect the interests of the physically challenged etc.

In order to formulate the proposed amendments and to carry out wide-ranging consultations with all stakeholders, the Ministry of Human Resource Development had constituted a 30-member Core Group in the year 2005 under the Chairmanship of the Education Secretary with representatives of the other Ministries/Departments concerned with the subject and other key stakeholders like copyright-industry organizations, stakeholders, subject experts and Institutions of repute in related fields. The Core Group had deliberations at length in five sessions to cover all the provisions of the existing statute and made recommendations with regard to the proposed amendments. The Core Group then created a Drafting Committee to draw up the text of the proposed amendments and to fine-tune the recommendations of the Core Group.


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