Artists and broadcasters divided over copyright policy

By Abhai Pandey, Lex Orbis IP Practice
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The proposed amendment to the Copyright Act, 1957, addresses numerous issues. On the one hand, the amendment aims to bring the act in conformity with internet treaties, namely the Performers and Phonograms Treaty and the Copyright Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and on the other hand it examines the interests of various stakeholders such as broadcasters, lyricists, singers and composers. Although one group of parties are in favour of the amendment, there are others who vociferously oppose it, especially when considering the rights held by broadcasters.

Abhai Pandey,Lawyer,Lex Orbis IP Practice
Abhai Pandey
Lawyer
Lex Orbis IP Practice

The amendment being contested frantically by broadcasters deals with the deletion of section 52(1)(b)(ii), which allows broadcasters to use literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works for the purpose of reporting current events – an allowance under the fair use exception.

The deletion of this provision will result in broadcasters having to pay royalties each time they use such works for the purposes of news reporting, films or any other television broadcast. The provision, which is applicable to news channel broadcasters, will also extend to the payment of royalties for the use of clippings as well as archived telecasts. However, when television channels or radio stations use their own orchestrated versions of music, those compositions still qualify as “fair use” under section 52 of the act.

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Abhai Pandey is a lawyer with Lex Orbis IP Practice, a law firm specializing in intellectual property issues.

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