Cabinet approves Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023

The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that content is not affected by piracy and safeguards the interest and investments of producers and filmmakers.

Published: 20th April 2023 01:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2023 01:33 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill that proposes to introduce more categories for film certification and also brings in stricter penal provisions to prevent film piracy. The Bill will be presented in the Parliament in the upcoming session.

The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that content is not affected by piracy and safeguards the interest and investments of producers and filmmakers.

The Bill proposes imprisonment ranging from three months to three years and a fine of Rs 3-10 lakh which may extend to a sum of up to 5 per cent of the audited gross production cost of the film, to prevent film piracy.

Under the proposed amendments pertaining to the certification of films under the 'unrestricted public exhibition', the Bill has introduced new film certification categories including 'U' or universal, 'U/A 7+', 'U/A 13+', and 'U/A 16+', besides an ‘A’ rating for content restricted for viewing by only adults.

At present, under the Indian Cinematograph Act, three categories of film certification exist - unrestricted public exhibition or 'U', parental guidance required for children under 12 or 'U/A', and adult films or 'A'.

The proposed amendments allowing the sub-categorisation for film certification purposes, appear to be in line with the age-based restrictions recently implemented for over-the-top (OTT) content providers under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (Intermediary Rules).

In June 2021, the government had issued a notification seeking public comments on the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, proposing two further amendments to the Cinematograph Act than those already proposed in 2019.

The purpose was to make the process of sanctioning films for exhibition more effective, in tune with the changed times and curb the menace of piracy. These were the introduction of age-based categories for film certification and penal provisions imposed for film piracy.

Earlier in February 2019, the Government had introduced the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha, with the objective of curbing and punishing large-scale film piracy.

Also, the 2019 version proposed prohibiting a person from using a recording device to make a copy or transmit a film, without the written authorisation of the copyright owner of the film.

It aimed to tackle film piracy by including penal provisions for unauthorised cam-cording and duplication of films in an exhibition facility.

However, after the parliamentary committee on IT had made a slew of changes to the 2019 bill, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting brought its 2021 version, which has now been cleared by the Union Cabinet.


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