Govt Seeks To Amend Copyright Act To Improve Access To Content

India is looking to widen the copyright framework, restricted now to television and radio, to bring all forms of broadcasters under its ambit. The draft rules on copyright seeks to allow all broadcasters to take advantage of statutory licence provisions, a move expected to benefit a number of internet-based broadcasters.

On Monday, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) proposed to introduce the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2019 and sought public comments and suggestions on the draft. The draft rules seek to introduce changes to the copyright framework in the light of technological advancement in digital era and to bring them in parity with other relevant legislations.

Experts say this would enable non-traditional broadcasters including web and IPTV to seek compulsory license of copyrighted content from a content owner, limited only radio or TV broadcasters right now.

Currently, the Act covers only radio, and TV broadcast firms who are allowed to take permission from the owners and negotiate a price bilaterally or through the Intellectual Property Appellate Board under Section 31D of the Act.

“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.

The latest draft also proposes to replace Copyright board with appellate board.

It also states that in case the royalty due to author and other owners remains undistributed at the end of the period of three years from the end of the financial year in which collection of the royalty occurred, the copyright society shall refund such amount to the licensee within a period of three months from the end of such financial year.

Separately, government has proposed amendments to the patent regime to bring clarity with respect to the working requirement for a patented invention on a commercial scale in India.

The DPIIT is looking to amend Form 27 that informs the Patent Office whether a patent has been worked in India or not. Earlier, it was open-ended with no clarity on what needed to be disclosed.―India Finance News

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