CCI scores landmark win for film producers & distributors

The Competition Commission of India has down Draconian and antiquated laws of trade associations in the context of theatrical rights

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 28, 2012 5:56 AM
CCI scores landmark win for film producers & distributors

UTV Software Communications, Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd, Eros International and FICCI Multiplex Association of India have been granted relief by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on antiquated laws which restricted production houses with unreasonable holdbacks for all other rights outside theatrical rights.

In 2010, UTV had filed a case against distributor associations like KFCC (Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce) for putting a restriction on the number of cinemas to release a non-Kannada film and BJMPA (Bihar and Jharkhand Motion Pictures Association) for demanding unreasonable holdbacks for registering its films.

It barred studios from exploiting satellite and home video rights in the respective regions and compelled the studio to register films with the trade body and bend to their archaic rules. As a result, this constrained the market access of the studio for unfettered distribution of its films on non theatrical platforms.

The CCI ruled that the anti-competitive behaviour of any entity needed to be condemned heavily for effective function of the market. Further, it said that the associations were taking decisions and engaging in practices that were anti-competitive. Consequently, in February 2012, the CCI has imposed a hefty penalty on these distributor associations; to be deposited with immediate effect to the Commission.

The order clarifies that the associations will have to stop (a) Compelling producers/ distributors/ exhibitors to become their members as a pre-condition for exhibition in their territories; (b) Discrimination between regional and non-regional films and imposing discriminatory conditions against non-regional films; (c) Screen restrictions based on language or manner of exhibition of a film to be done away with; (d) Holdbacks on satellite and home video, with studios are free to decide such holdbacks; (e) Compulsory registration of films as pre-condition to release to be done away with.

Reacting to this development, Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures, said, “This judgement by the CCI will stand out as a landmark event in the history of the Indian film industry. It unshackles producers and distributors from the draconian and archaic bylaws of defunct associations, driven by vested interests. It is a huge step forward in ensuring that the rules that govern the Indian movie business are reflective of current business practices, and not those practiced in the last century.”

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