3 year jail term, steep fines proposed to check film piracy

The said Bill also seeks to introduce age-based certification in ‘UA’ category into three age-based categories, namely ‘UA 7+’, ‘UA 13+’ and ‘UA 16+’.

New Delhi: The Central Government on Friday proposed jail terms and steep fines to check film piracy. The centre proposed a maximum of 3 years jail term and a fine upto five percent of the production cost of a film that is to be imposed for those persons who would make pirated copies of a certain movie. It was proposed in a bid to amend the Cinematograph Act.

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill-2023 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday by Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur while it was made available in the public domain on Friday.

The said Bill also seeks to introduce age-based certification in ‘UA’ category into three age-based categories, namely ‘UA 7+’, ‘UA 13+’ and ‘UA 16+’. Further, it proposes to empower the CBFC to sanction the film with a separate certificate for its exhibition on TV or other media.

Currently, 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 sub-categorisation for film certification purpose, 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 & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (Intermediary Rules).

On June 18, 2021, the government had issued a notification seeking public comments to the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, proposing two further amendments to the Cinematograph Act than those already proposed in 2019.

These were introduction of age-based categories for film certification and penal provisions imposed for film piracy.

Government had earlier in February 2019, introduced the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha, with the aim of penalising rampant film piracy.

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

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

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