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Parliament approves strengthened copyright law

Parliament approves strengthened copyright law
Empowering the creative sector, parliament Tuesday enacted a law that strengthens the royalty claims of artistes, song and script writers, musicians and those in similar fields and addresses newer issues related to the digital world and internet.

The Copyright Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012, was passed by the Lok Sabha with members from both the treasury and opposition benches supporting it in one voice. They said those from the creative sectors were denied their due for long and that the money earned from their creative works was garnered by the producers and those commissioning them.

The legislation was approved by the Rajya Sabha on 17 May.

The law provides for declaring authors as the owners of the copyright for their creative work and that this right cannot be assigned to producers, as has been the practice till now.

It also makes it mandatory for broadcasters from both the radio and television industry to pay royalty to the owners of copyright each time a work of art is broadcast.

The law also bans cover versions of literary, dramatic or musical work for five years from the first recording of the original creation.

Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal, who had moved the bill in Lok Sabha, sought strong support from members for the legislation that will do away the injustice meted out to the creative people. Sibal noted that artistes, who came from poor background, were left to fend for themselves, as producers cornered all royalties that came from the work, be it stories or scripts or songs. He said the legislation was to help the artistes to lead a decent living even in old age, continuing to receive their dues for the work done during their prime.

Giving examples of Shehnai exponent Bismillah Khan and music composer Ravi, the minister pointed out that the condition of such excellent artistes was pitiable and they were unable to even bear their housing and medical costs.

He said various recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee had been incorporated in the bill.
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