Scatmag.com

July 2019

PROPOSAL TO AMEND COPYRIGHT ACT



On 30 May 2019, even as the new ministers were settling in, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (headed by Piyush Goyal) issued a Gazette notification proposing to introduce the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2019. Comments from the public have been sought till 29 June 2019.

The copyright regime is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957, and the Copyright Rules, 2013. The rules were last amended in 2016.

EXISTING RULES

Currently, the Act covers only radio, and TV broadcast firms who are allowed to approach copyright owners, seek their permission for temporary use of the material.



PRICE UNDER SEC 31D

Price negotiations can be done bilaterally. If such talks fail, an appeal can be made to the Copyright Board, under Section 31D of the Act. This usually ensures that the copyright owner does not demand an 'un-reasonable' price, or hold back sharing of the content.






KEY CHANGES

The draft proposes to replace Copyright board with a quasi-judicial body Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).

The IPAB will be entrusted with the task of ensuring that copyrighted material be shared for public consumption at a reasonable price.


FOR STREAMING TOO

The draft rules seek to introduce changes to the copyright framework, by including all forms of broadcasts - including audio & video streaming via the internet, under its ambit.

As a result, internet streaming services can also demand a price ceiling dictated by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board under Section 31D.



ROYALTY REFUND

The draft states that in case the royalty is collected by a copyright society and not paid to the author / owners for 3 years, the copyright society must refund the amount to the licensee within 3 months.


IMPLICATIONS

Once the changes are approved, it would become easier for websites, portals and music streaming firms to buy content (songs and videos) and upload them.

"This means greater access to content at potentially better rates and terms for internet broadcasters including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify," said Ankit Sahni, an expert on intellectual property rights.

However, the move could hurt the commercial interest of content owners of songs and videos.


CHALLENGED IN COURT?

Amit Dutta, Partner, Saikrishna Associates, opined "The proposed changes are against the interest of song and video content owners. There is a high court ruling also in the favour of the owners," Dutta said.

Will the proposed amendments, if taken forward, be challenged in court, delaying their implementation? n



PATENT CHANGE TOO

Separately, the DPIIT has proposed amending Form 27, to inform the Patent Office specific details on whether a patent has been worked in India or not.

Currently, it is open-ended with no clarity on what needed to be disclosed.