Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Why in News

– The Rajya Sabha recently passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that introduces stringent anti-piracy provisions.

– The amendment will expand the scope of the law from censorship to also cover copyright.

– The Bill proposes stringent punishment for piracy.

– A committee of experts chaired by filmmaker Shyam Benegal had in 2017 recommended amendments to the film censorship regime.

  • The graded-age classifications are in line with the report of the committee.
  • However, the government has not implemented the key recommendation of the committee that the CBFC’s power to require cuts be taken away.
About The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Ministry: Information and Broadcasting

The Bill amends the Cinematograph Act, 1952. 

The Act constitutes the Board of Film Certification for certifying films for exhibition.

Additional certificate categories:

– The Bill adds certain additional certificate categories based on age.

– The Bill substitutes the UA category with the following three categories to also indicate age-appropriateness: (i) UA 7+, (ii) UA 13+, or (iii) UA 16+.

– Other Categories:

  • without restriction (‘U’)
  • only to adults
  • only to members of any profession or class of persons (‘S’).

Films with an ‘A’ or ‘S’ certificate will require a separate certificate for exhibition on television, or any other media prescribed by the central government.

  • The Board may direct the applicant to carry appropriate deletions or modifications for the separate certificate.

Unauthorised recording and exhibition to be punishable:

  • The Bill prohibits carrying out or abetting: (i) the unauthorised recording and (ii) unauthorised exhibition of films.
  • Attempting an unauthorised recording will also be an offence.

Note: An unauthorised recording means making or transmitting an infringing copy of a film at a licensed place for film exhibition without the owner’s authorisation.

– An unauthorised exhibition means the public exhibition of an infringing copy of the film for profit:

  • (i) at a location not licensed to exhibit films or
  • (ii) in a manner that infringes upon the copyright law.

The above offences will be punishable with: (i) imprisonment between three months and three years, and (ii) a fine between three lakh rupees and 5% of the audited gross production cost.

Certificates to be perpetually valid: Under the Act, the certificate issued by the Board is valid for 10 years. The Bill provides that the certificates will be perpetually valid.

Revisional powers of the central government: The Act empowers the central government to examine and make orders in relation to films that have been certified or are pending certification.

Note: The Supreme Court in 1991 had ruled against such powers with the central government.