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Film industry and cable operators reach an agreement to curb video piracy

16-November-2001
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Film industry and cable operators reach an agreement to curb video piracy

The film industry and cable operators have reached an agreement to curb video piracy, with the film segment coming forward to make available "properly authorised" old films, legally to the cable operators for telecast over cable. Which would mean that the "certified copies" of a year-old film would be sold to the cable operators.

This was revealed by the minister for information and broadcasting, Mrs Sushma Swaraj at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting held this week. The agreement comes on the heels of open discussions between the film and cable representatives, which included a proposal to ban the video channel of cable operators all together.

The agreement would allow cable operators to telecast a film —after it is a year old. At present most ‘’new’’ films are available in the market for home viewing only, and the cable industry has demanded that the film maker sell video rights simultaneously with the distribution rights of a new film. A clause in the agreement that it would be used for telecast only after a year is likely to be added.

However this is only one aspect of video piracy. An expert panel comprising film directors, Yash Chopra and Yash Johar, Amit Khanna of Reliance Entertainment Ltd and R.J. Hingorani of INCable has been set up to look into the problem.

Since the cable operators function under the Cable Television Network Regulation Act 1995, under the Central government, state governments do not have powers to take action. If there is a breach of exhibition rights, a police complaint has to be lodged under the Copyright Act. But then only the producer or one with power of attorney to act on his behalf can complain. The industry is demanding that the Centre delegate powers to the district collector or police commissioner to take action against unauthorised screening. It is also setting up a cell empowered to act on behalf of producers, to which illegal screenings can be reported.

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