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Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023 Passed by Rajya Sabha to Combat Film Piracy and Censorship

  • Posted on July 28, 2023
  • News
  • By Sakshi Nawani
Bill awaits approval from the Lok Sabha

On 27th July, 2023, the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed by Raja Sabha. The Bill imposes strict measures against piracy, the new provisions extend the law's reach beyond censorship to encompass copyright protection as well.

The Bill aims to modify the Cinematograph Act of 1952, empowering the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to demand film edits and approve them for screening in theaters and on television.

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed by Raja Sabha on Thursday.
The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed by Raja Sabha on Thursday. (Photo | PTI)

He confirmed that even after the Bill is passed, the Government will not have the authority to revise CBFC decisions. Mr. Thakur recently sought an explanation from the CBFC concerning a contentious scene in the movie "Oppenheimer," which had caused dissatisfaction among some viewers. Nevertheless, the Government is unable to mandate the CBFC to make further cuts since the Supreme Court had already prohibited such powers in 1991. The Amendment Bill formalizes this limitation by eliminating the specific clause from the statute.

As the minister mentioned piracy as 'termite', the Bill suggests a potential prison sentence of up to three years and a fine amounting to 5% of a film's production cost for individuals caught using any audio-visual recording device in a licensed cinema venue with the intent of creating or transmitting an unauthorized copy of a film.

Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023 Passed by Rajya Sabha to Combat Film Piracy and Censorship
Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023 Passed by Rajya Sabha to Combat Film Piracy and Censorship

The Bill also introduces three age ratings for films, requiring adult supervision: U/A 7+, U/A 13+, and U/A 16+. These ratings align with those used for streaming platforms under the IT Rules, 2021. The Bill also formalizes the practice of re-certifying films for television and other media, which broadcasters often do voluntarily after making cuts to obtain a U/A rating from the CBFC. The proposed legislation is in line with the recommendations of a 2017 committee chaired by filmmaker Shyam Benegal, except for the key recommendation to strip the CBFC's authority to demand cuts. 

The Bill awaits approval from the Lok Sabha to become law.

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Sakshi Nawani

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