The Indian film industry is set to benefit from the new Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was passed by the Parliament on 31 July 2023. The bill aims to protect the rights and interests of filmmakers and producers from the menace of piracy and introduce more categories for film certification based on age and content.
Fighting Piracy with Stricter Penalties
One of the major objectives of the bill is to curb the rampant piracy that is causing losses of Rs 20,000 crores to the film industry, based on certain estimates. The bill proposes imprisonment ranging from three months to three years and a fine of Rs 3-10 lakh for anyone who uses a recording device to make a copy or transmit a film without the written authorization of the copyright owner. The fine can also extend to a sum of up to 5 per cent of the audited gross production cost of the film.
The bill also empowers the Central government to order recertification of an already certified film following receipt of complaints or in the public interest. This provision has been introduced to ensure that the content of the films is in accordance with the law and public order and does not violate the rights of any individual or group.
Introducing More Categories for Film Certification
Another key feature of the bill is the introduction of more categories for film certification under the ‘unrestricted public exhibition’ category. The bill has added new sub-categories such as ‘U/A 7+’, ‘U/A 13+’, and ‘U/A 16+’, besides the existing ‘U’ and ‘A’ ratings. These sub-categories are based on the age and maturity level of the viewers and the nature and intensity of the content of the films.
The bill also does away with the requirement to renew the film’s license every 10 years and makes it valid for lifetime. This will ease the burden on the filmmakers and producers and save them from the hassle of applying for renewal.
Promoting the Growth and Diversity of the Film Industry
The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 is a historic bill that has been passed by the Parliament after 40 years, as the last significant amendments in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 were made in the year 1984. The bill is expected to promote the growth and diversity of the film industry by providing a conducive environment for content creation and exhibition.
The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, said that the bill is a reflection of the vision of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, who has recognized the potential of India to become the content hub of the world with its rich heritage and cultural diversity. He also said that the bill will empower the Indian film industry with ease of doing business and protect it from the menace of piracy.
The bill has been welcomed by the film fraternity and the industry bodies, who have expressed their gratitude to the government for taking this initiative. They have also hoped that the bill will boost the confidence and morale of the filmmakers and producers and encourage them to make more quality films for the global audience.