The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has proposed to introduce the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2019. Copyright issues in India are right now governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright Rules, 2013, which was last amended in 2016 through the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2016.
DPIIT has said that the new rules come in order to ensure smooth and flawless compliance of Copyright Act in the light of technological advancements in the digital era and to bring them in parity with other relevant legislation.
One of the major suggestions in the new copyright rules comes in who it affects. Currently, the Act covers only radio and TV broadcast firms are allowed to take permission from the owners and negotiate a price bilaterally or through IPAB under Section 31D of the Act.
Now, the draft rules propose to cover companies operating through digital mode like websites and music streaming firms.
The government is also proposing a mechanism to ensure that songs and videos reach maximum number of people at an affordable price, which in case of dispute may be fixed by a quasi-judicial body Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).
If these changes are approved, it would become easier for websites, portals and music streaming firms to buy content (songs and videos) and upload them.
It also proposes to amend the manner in which copyright societies fix their tariff schemes. A Copyright Society is a legal body which protects or safeguards the interest of owners of the work by giving assurance to the creative authors of the commercial management of their works. These societies issue licences and collects royalties in accordance with a tariff scheme.
In addition, the amendments propose to make it mandatory for copyright societies to publish “the annual transparency” report for each financial year on its Website.
Such a report will contain details regarding the activities of the society in the financial year, information on refusals to grant a licence, description of its legal and governance structure besides financial information related to rights revenues for each category of rights administered among others.
With these changes, players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify will get greater access to content at potentially better rates and terms. The rules are open to public comments till June 29.