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Copyright Act has its own challenges: Legal experts

28-September-2012
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Copyright Act has its own challenges: Legal experts

The amendment to the Copyright Act 1957 has brought about various changes in businesses as well as led to many discussions. There are two sides to the amendment – while it has benefitted the real owner/ author/ performer, it has also spelt trouble for the seller who has to run after the proprietor for the rights.

One challenge for businesses is to keep up with the rapid changes in technology. As Ashish Chandra, Legal Head, (Media & Technologies) Reliance Industries, pointed out, “The situation now is that technology is upgraded every six months. When we want to uplift our technology, we have to pay extra for that.”

Mustafa Safiyuddin, Chairman, Legasis Partners, highlighted the issue of moral right and noted, “Moral rights are the soul of the work of an author and media houses need to be careful about moral rights.” To stress on how ambiguous the issue of moral right is, Safiyuddin pointed out a case of a video in which a child is making fun of a movie song. “In such a case, whose moral right has been violated in the video – producer, author, lyricist or the performer?” he asked.

On the other hand, Vanditta Malhotra Hegde, VP and Legal Head, Radio Mirchi, supported the amendment in the Copyright Act regarding sharing music royalty. She said that this would lead to a proper accounting system.

Legal experts also cited the problem that broadcasters face while taking permission for licenses.

According to Satyakki Bhattacharjee, Legal Head, ABP News, “There are so many songs released in India that it is difficult to keep track of all of them. For instance, while doing a report on an actor or any story we show some clips. The moment the clip is aired, we receive several letters stating that we had not taken permission to air that clip and threatening us of legal action.”

Thus, it becomes difficult to keep track of whom to take permission from every time a clip needs to be shown, because in several cases it is not clear who the actual owner of the copyright is.

The legal experts were sharing their views at the Media, Advertising & Entertainment Legal Summit 2012 organised by Lex Witness in New Delhi on September 27.

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