“We dwell in a field of area and time. Films are the home windows in its partitions. They permit us to enter different minds, not merely within the sense of figuring out with the characters, though that is a vital a part of it, however by seeing the world as one other particular person sees it” ~ Roger Ebert
Cinema or motion picture has been defined as the art of colourful moving images. Since the days of its establishment, it played an important role to bring out the problems, issues, thinking, and perspective of society. It has been viewed as a medium through which a larger picture of the society is portrayed on the screen. Movies have always been a source of entertainment and an excuse to refresh from one’s tiresome schedule. Not only had this it always played a great role to bring people together. Everyone is fond of movies irrespective of their age. Way back, all families were not so well-off to have a television in their homes. Only a few houses enjoyed the use of television. So a channel which is most popular then and now is Doordarshan and it used to show a movie every Sunday, which all the members of the family, relatives, friends, and neighbours used to see together.
In this entertainment world, crime, and courtroom dramas have been popular since the old days which majorly attract and engage the audience with the twists, turns, and suspense. These movies have the power to create a negative or positive side of the justice system because it also serves as a source of knowledge and information.
Cinema in India is managed under the Cinematograph Act of 1952. Section 3 of this Act establishes an administrative body called as Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is a statutory body i.e. one created by an Act of Parliament or State, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, a body that certifies a film, is known by the name of Censor Board in common speaking. The first mentioned is a process by which the content of the films is classified regarding certain restrictions such as the age of the viewer, its sexual and violent content, moral and ethical intimation, sentimental content related to any particular religion, and so on.
In 1913, when the first Indian film (Raja Harish Chandra) was produced, the Indian Cinematograph Act was not enacted. It came into force in the year 1920. But, in the year 1952, the board was reconstituted. In the year 1983, the rules of Cinematograph (Certification) were modified and since then, the Central Board of Film Censor came to be known as the Central Board of Film Certification.
As laid in Section 3 of the Cinematograph Act 1952, the CBFC consists of a chairman and 10-25 other members as appointed by the Central Government. Under section 5-A, certification is done for films for which an application is given for the examination of the movie for its exhibition:
These 4 certificates are given to the movies (anyone)–
· “U”: Unrestricted Public exhibition
· “UA”: unrestricted public exhibition, but requiring parental discretion needed for children below 12 years
· “A: Restricted to adults
· “S”: restricted to any special class of persons
However, the powers granted to CBFC have been highly misused especially when Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani stepped in as the Chief of CBFC. He has been the buffet of controversies. There is also a rumor that his appointment to this post is through political pressure.
Under his chairmanship, Raj Amit Kumar’s movie on LGBT “Unfreedom” was stopped from releasing.
The movie Damini is famous for its ‘tareekh p tareekh’ scene. Being way forward than the time it was released, the movie provided a deep understanding of the journey of the struggles and problems faced by women. The movie revolves around the woman Damini who witnessed the rape of another woman and how she stood up for the rights and dignity of the raped woman without comprising her ethics. The movie showed the reality of the Indian judicial system, grant of justice in the courtroom, allegations, the murder of the victim, and trying to prove the witness mentally unfit. It also showed the insensitivity of the lawyers towards such cases. The movie lasted a positive impact on the minds of the people of that time. It also made us experience how the cases are dealt with long and long procedures in our system.
The courtroom scene of the movie Aitraaz was one of the most uplifting scenes of Bollywood as it shows how the woman misuses the law. The movie shows Sonia (Priyanka Chopra) was a model and tried to seduce Raj (Akshay Kumar) who was married to Priya (Kareena Kapoor). Sonia inflicted false allegations on him as result he was forced to resign from the company in which he worked. As Priya was a lawyer she fought for her husband and in the end, justice was served to him.
The movie Pink grabbed the attention of the viewers because of its amazing story which was focused on the issue of sexual assault and consent. It provided an insight into the audience by making them aware of Zero FIR and the availability of bail to women and minors in non-bailable offenses. The topic of consent has been discussed to a great extent for a while now. The movie implements a strong belief in understanding the meaning of the word “no.” Pink eventually impaired the court as it was inclined more towards persuasion than arguments. The working of courts and the lawful framework today wasn’t portrayed in its unique structure.
The movie Article 15 was based on the Badaun gang-rape and murder case. It was a hit because it raises some important issues related to the caste that is plaguing the country. There was also a plea submitted in the Supreme Court by the organization ‘Brahmin Samaj in India’ for the cancellation of the certificate issued to the movie. A bench of Justice(s)S A Bobde and B R Gavai told the counsel who was appearing on behalf of the petitioner to go to the appropriate authority under the Act and therefore the petition was withdrawn.
Hence, movies are the source of portraying social cause and it can leave a strong message for the society to think about. For example, the issue of reservation, women empowerment, corruption, rapes, misuse of law, and even highlights of the cases which took place in the country such as ‘Talvar’ which was based on the Aarushi Talvar and Hemraj murder case which shocked the country in 2008. The movie ‘No one killed Jessica’ followed the case which took place on 29 April 1999, in which the model Jessica was shot with a 0.22 bore pistol in the presence of more than 100 ‘socialites’ at a party in New Delhi. So far, the accused Manu Sharma walked free in 2006 urging a newspaper headline that read ‘No One Killed Jessica’. The film surrounded and provided all the true happenings of the case.
Judicial Pronouncements and censorship
In the case of K.A. Abbas v. Union of India, the constitutional validity of the Cinematograph Act and rules framed subsequently in 1983 was challenged on the ground of it being violative of Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. The petitioner submitted that such provision as expressed in various sections of the Act, i.e., section 5(1) (B), Section 4 and the CFBC’s refusal to grant a certificate to his film without several cuts are in clear violation of the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. However, in this case, the Supreme Court took a stand in favor of reasonable censorship and rejected the challenge of vagueness. The guidelines held were nothing more than concrete manifestations of Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution, which allows for reasonable restrictions upon the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of, among other things, morality. The K.A. Abbas’s judgment was a complete defeat for the cause of freedom of expression under the Constitution.
The Supreme Court in Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram repealed the decision of Madras High Court which awarded a void U certificate to the film ‘Ore Oru Gramathille’. This film was based on the aspect of the government’s reservation policy. Madras High Court saw it as a film that is depicting a theme which could cause widespread unrest in the state of Tamil Nadu. But when the matter was brought to Supreme Court, it nullified the argument submitted by the State – that the film should be refused a U certificate as it can cause agitation that may create a public fuss. The Court stated: “The State has to protect the freedom of expression since it is a liberty guaranteed against the State. The State cannot plead its inability to handle the hostile audience problem”.
The most recent case which served as a milestone was the case of Udta Punjab. In this case, the judiciary stepped in and defeated the Central Board of Film Certification. The Board refused to certify the film Udta Punjab as it was based on the drug jeopardy which was prevailing in the State of Punjab. After the refusal of certification, the board besides offered 13 cuts in the movie which was mandatory for its certification. However, when an appeal was made in the Bombay High Court by the filmmaker, the CBFC received criticism for its poor way of handling the issue. This is a landmark case as in this case the court had made an important observation that the Board is not necessarily empowered to censor the films as the Cinematograph Act does not include the word censor in it. It was also laid down that the board can make changes in the film but this power must be exercised following Constitutional Guarantee and Supreme Court orders.
As there is no separate censorship for television, a case came to the Supreme Court against the judgment passed by Bombay High Court in the case of Ramesh v. Union of India a petition demanding to restrain the screening of serial ‘Tamas’ being violative of Section 5 B of the 1952 Act. The petitioner submitted that the serial portrays the Hindu-Muslim tension, Sikh- Muslim tension before the partition of India, how communal violence was generated by fundamentalists and extremists in both communities and how an innocent boy is lured to violence resulting in his harming both the communities. But the Supreme Court held that there is no doubt that the serial represents violence but, it should be kept in mind that the violence between the communities took place before the pre-partition days. The serial is not based on any historical novel and it just takes into account certain events from history. Secondly, the judges have viewed it from “how the average person for whom the film is intended will view it” and hence concluded that the people will learn from the mistakes of the past. Overall, the serial is capable of creating a lasting impact by giving the message of peace and co-existence and the people are not likely to be swayed by the scenes of violence shown in the serial. Hence, there is no such danger to screen it.
In the famous case of Harinder Singh Sikka v. Union of India & Ors, the film Nanak Shah Fakir was based on the life of Guru Nanak Dev and his teachings. The film received a green flag by CBFC after some alterations in the film. But the film was opposed for screening by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) a body of Sikhs. When the matter was brought to the Court, the former Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra criticized the religious body and also stated that if CBFC grants certification to a movie, then no group, body, association, or individual can create any kind hindrance in the exhibition of the film. It was further noted that creating any hindrance even after the CBFC certifies it will signify becoming a law onto them and not respecting the law that governs the land. The bench also issued a notice to the Centre and all the States directing them to oversee that when a film is released, law and order are to be maintained and no one is allowed to create disturbances. Hence, it is the duty of the State to facilitate the enjoyment of the right.
There are several films which have been caught in the web of Certification Board such as Manikarnika, PK, MSG, and many more. Though they have been certified after some alterations or by the order of the court. Therefore, there is no doubt that censorship of law is justified under the Constitution and the Board is competent to adjudge the suitability of film on a much wider plane. But we cannot deny the fact that the censor board regulations affect the right of freedom of speech and expression of filmmakers whose content face restrictions and several movies become a victim of regressive laws of censorship. Even the Indian Constitution guarantees and protects the right of artists to portray social reality in all its forms. And the same is held by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in the case of F.A. Pictures International v. Central Board of Film Certification, “Artists, writers, and filmmakers are the eyes and ears of a free society. They are the veritable lungs of a free society because the power of their medium imparts a breath of fresh air into the drudgery of daily existence. Their right to communicate their ideas in a medium of their choosing is as fundamental as the right of any citizen to speak.”
Formation of Committees
The Government of India had set up an Expert Committee and entrusted them with the task of reviewing and recommending the ideas. To utmost despair very little has been done to implement the suggestions which had been put forward by these committees.
The board should follow certain guidelines while examining the film:
The filmmakers should keep in mind the sensitive values and standards of society, context, theme, and what impacts will it bring in the society.
2. If the details mentioned above are not up to the mark a film should not be certified for the exhibition. If the Board thinks that the film is violating Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution than it has a full right to impose Article 19(2) of the Constitution which deals with the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression if it is against the interest of the sovereignty and the integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency, or involves contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offense .
A committee was commenced again by the Government of India in January 2016 and this time it was headed by the prestigious filmmaker Shyam Benegal. Various norms had been laid down in this committee. Some of the major guidance suggested is:
1. The Committee Board should limit its boundary only to certification of films that will help in categorizing it according to the age and maturity of viewers.
2. Even it was proposed that the size of the Board should be reduced keeping in view its limited functions.
3. The role of the Chairman of the Board should be of advisory nature only.
The Committee had abstained itself from touching the restrictions exploited under section 5.1(B) of the Cinematograph Act which in the opinion of the Committee should continue to serve as the ground of refusal of certification by the Board.
What is ‘Piracy’?
The term piracy was used during medieval times as an act of raiding or looting which involved ship-borne looters who then used to attack other ships to loot other belongings such as cargo or other important valuables.
But today this word has a modified meaning and now it is more relevant to stealing the copyrights and trademark i.e. unlawfully stealing someone else’s work and produce it as one’s own. Piracy in this digital era means when an individual unlawfully or illegally distributes a digital file on the internet for free then he is preventing the profit from the purchase of that item from going to the one who created it, therefore, creating an economic impact.
Types of Piracy
Piracy can be classified into 5 types, those being –
Counterfeiting: It means illegally acquitting, duplicating, and distributing any copyrighted material, which directly emulates the copyrighted product. An example of distributing such pirated works is through compact discs.
Internet Piracy: It is an act of downloading a file from the internet or by acquiring online software through a compact disc. Internet piracy can be conducted through websites offering free downloads of software or P2P servers which transfer programs.
End-User Piracy: In this type of piracy the user illegally reproduces software which he is not authorized to do. For instance, a user using one license to the software and installing it on multiple devices or upgrading already pirated software.
Client-Server Overuse: When the number of clients exceeds the number which is prescribed in the server license of a computer network, then it is termed as overuse piracy.
Hard-Disk Loading: This type of piracy occurs once a business sells new computers with felonious copies of software loaded onto the hard-disks to make its purchase more enticing.
Websites to Pirate movie
With the unlawful distribution of movies such as shaky recordings on camcorders to dedicated sites and apps to physical hardware, piracy has grown as a dangerous practice. In the UK, people who are above the age of 16 pirate movies
The process of pirating movies and uploading them online has grown difficult to track. The websites uploading free content experience network trafficking due to their popularity as a number of users access their domains to get their hands on the latest games, songs, movies or series.
ISPs (internet service providers) are installed by several governments to block these sites by default on their services but still these sites are visited on a regular basis through the use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Some of these popular sites are:-
Ø The ‘YTS’ domains
Ø The Private Bay
India is one of the few countries that have three major cinema industries i.e. Bollywood, Hollywood, and Tollywood. As the torrent sites mentioned above are most popular across the world, people in India also tend to visit piracy sites that host Bollywood and Tollywood content exclusively. These sites are:-
What is Camcorder Piracy?
In this type of piracy, the pirate records the entire movie while sitting in the theatre using a camcorder. These movies are generally known as ‘Cam print’ movies. The point to be noted is that camcorder piracy is not only limited to the use of camcorders but any device which is capable of recording video comes under camcorder piracy.
Such pirated movies are of poor quality because of constant shaking, foreign audio, and low video pixels but still downloaded in large quantities. They are mostly downloaded within a couple of days after the release of the movie. Not only this but most of the movies are repacked into optical drivers for sale in black markets through local vendors.
The Legality of Recording Movies in the Theatre
After the amendment was made in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 it was laid down that recording movie in the theatre by any device which has the option of recording to produce pirated ‘cam print’ of the movie is unlawful and is punishable by law. Even the act of recording the movie for itself is punishable in law the rest of the process to pirate it successfully is a whole different thing. The punishment for the offense is imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine payable up to Rs. 10 lakh.
What is the effect of Piracy on the film industry?
If we talk about the effects that piracy has on the film industry there is one article of Forbes as an example which told that the film, ‘The Expendables 3’ was acquired illegally by pirates and the entire movie was leaked online for people to download it. As per the statistics, it was estimated that the viewership of the pirated movie was close to 70 million viewers.
This matter needs a strong action because this act dangers the economic success of the movies as in today’s time every movie can be downloaded on every device, be it phones, tablets, laptops, desktops or even game consoles which leads to losses for the producers of the movie. In general, the more the viewership the more is the deduction of the profit margin for the producers of the movie. And this reduction in the profit is not only a setback to the producers but also a major loss to the employers who are associated with that film such as make-up artists, cameraman, set designers, electricians, composers, etc.
There is no doubt that Bollywood movies are popular at the global level. Still, its turnover constitutes only 8% of the overseas revenue collection. As per Germany- based data analytics firm ‘Tecxipio’, in the four years i.e. from 2013-2017, the number of film downloads grew by 250% in Tanzania, while Ireland led the market with 100% growth.
Macedonia, Germany, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Turkey were the other countries with growing audiences of Bollywood movies, while Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, and Morocco were among the countries that were developing into hubs for Hindi movie downloads.
Padmaavat of Sanjay Leela Bhansali topped the Tecxipio’s list for being “the most pirated Hindi movies of 2018”. The piracy list relies upon the numbers of file-sharers who downloaded and shared the various movies in P2P (peer-to-peer) networks between 01 January 2018 and June 30, 2018. As stated by Shailesh Kapoor, CEO of Ormax Media, a consulting firm of media, maximum shares for a film happen in three-four months after its release. A spokesperson from Tecxipio stated that the P2P file-sharing activity reflects customer preferences and consumption patterns; such findings can be used to identify new target markets. “These findings can be used to cost-effectively optimize overseas film distribution strategies, especially for territories in which the content has not officially been released or audience measurements are not available,” said the spokesperson.
Some Hindi films downloaded and shared in P2P networks between 1/1/2018-6/30/2018 are–
Rank Hindi Movie No. of file-sharers Days in Report
Padmaavat 7,355,459 157
Tiger Zinda Hai 6,326,500 181
Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety 5,265,881 128
Padman 4,603,001 142
Fukrey Returns 3,044,965 181
“Days in Report” means the number of days i.e. (between the above- mentioned period) a title has been seen in P2P networks.
Punishment for Piracy
The punishments for piracy are covered in the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957 and Information Technology Act, 2000. The punishments are-
Copyright Act: It is a tool through which the intellectual property of a person is prevented from being pirated. A legal right is given to the creator of the intellectual property to be able to reproduce and redistribute his work at his discretion. The punishment for infringing copyright is imprisonment for no less than 7 days, extending up to 3 years and a fine no less than Rs. 50 thousand, which may be extended up to Rs. 3 lakh.
Information Technology Act: The difference between the Copyright Act and Information Technology Act is that the former one acts as supervisor to monitor acts of piracy and punish the trespassers accordingly while the latter only extends to the unauthorized use of computers i.e. any data copied or reproduced from the system onto an external storage device counts as piracy. The punishment of piracy under the IT Act is to pay compensation for damages which amounts up to Rs. 1 Crore.
To decide the amount the pirate has to pay for the damages is qualified through these components–
1. The amount of gain or unfair advantage, wherever quantifiable, made as to the result of the default
2. The measure of misfortune caused to any person as a result of the default
3. The monotonous nature of the default.
Internet Service Providers, however, are exempted from the provisions of this Act, if they can prove that they had no existing knowledge of the act of piracy committed.
Trademark Act: A trademark or a brand name is an essential recognizable mark of intellectual property and is represented by the universal symbol (TM or ®), utilized by a particular organization, which implies that the intellectual property is unique and under their sole possession. A trademark can either be registered or unregistered, though being registered the organization enjoys many more legal remedies. The proprietor of an enlisted trademark can file a suit to protect the intellectual-property registered under it from any infringement or unauthorized use of the trademark. Whereas, the owner of the unregistered trademark can file a suit under the action of making similar remedies as an act of infringement, except the benefits, are limited to only the geographical area in which the owner operates.
What are the effects of leaking a movie through the censor board?
Way back when the movies were submitted to the Censor Board for review it was then submitted in a DVD format because through this it was easy to target the pirates. Most of the movies were leaked online before their official release and carried a watermark that said ‘For Censor’ to make it evident that these were pirated through the DVD copies which were submitted for review to the Censor Board.
As soon as the Censor Board came to know about the piracy they took an action and changed the format of submission from DVD to an encrypted file format, commonly known as DCP (Digital Cinema Package)-KDM (Key Delivery Message) format i.e. the DCP is either submitted on a hard disk or USB Pen drive whereas the KDM part of the file contains a serial key which is then used to decrypt the movie for viewing.
Movement restrictions around the world to stop the spread of Covid-19 created boredom for people at homes. Most of the people in India are responsible for increasing piracy figures just because they cannot afford legal video streaming platforms or they want to consume free content through cheap internet connectivity. According to the digital piracy authority MUSO, online piracy in India rose 62% at the end of March compared with the end of February. Whereas, it increased by 41% in the US, 66% in Italy, 43% in the UK, and 50% in Spain.
According to Mr. Raj Kumar Akella who is an honorary member of the Telugu film industry anti-piracy chamber said, “A lot of pirated content in India is circulated through platforms that people technically use for other features”. As all cinema halls are shut, so people have plenty of time for television, video streaming platforms, and pirated content, he added further.
Akella also stated that piracy of movies at this time will affect the small producers because the theatres are shut and there is no box office to judge the value of the film, so the filmmakers and VoD services are likely to operate on a revenue-sharing basis in some cases, and divide profits based on how the film performs on the platform. Pirating from these services will take away a significant portion of their revenue.
Piracy also extended to web originals. The second season of Netflix’s crime thriller Sacred Games had found pirated videos circulating on messaging app Telegram and multiple websites on the Internet. Damaged, a Hungama Digital Media original, had more than 169,000 downloads across different torrent websites since its premiere in June 2018. As per a report by Irdeto, a provider for global solutions in digital platform security, media, and entertainment, the Indian industry loses $2.8 billion of its annual revenue to piracy. India secures the fifth position in peer-to-peer downloading.
According to a study by Envisional Ltd, Indians are the largest group of visitors to visit the Indian content-focused torrent sites and also constitute the largest or second-largest group of people who visit major international bit-torrent sites like Mininova, Torrentz and The Pirate Bay.
Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019
This Bill was introduced by the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Rajyavardhan Rathore in Rajya Sabha on February 12, 2019. The bill amends the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
The salient features of the bill are–
Ø The amendment in the bill makes film piracy a punishable offense with imprisonment up to three years and fines that may extend to 10 lakh or both.
Ø The bill mentions that any person, who without the written authorization of the copyright owner, uses any recording device to make or transmit a copy of a film or attempts to do so, or abet the making or transmission of such a copy, will be liable for such a punishment.
According to the original Cinematograph Act, 1952, section 7 deals with who can watch and exhibit the films and penalties or violating terms and conditions related to the exhibition of board-certified films. The amendment bill adds a new subsection (4) to section 7 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 with the definition of piracy and the penal provisions for the same.
The Amendment in the Cinematograph Bill of 2019 dealt with the problem of film piracy and therefore included the penal provisions for illegal camcording and duplication of films. The Bill when passed can build reliable prevention which would raise industries revenues, support work creation, satisfy significant objectives of India’s National Intellectual Property policy and will give relief against piracy and infringing content online. To tackle hazardous film piracy, the Amendment Bill also provides for:
A new section 6AA has been inserted for the prohibition of unlawful recording. The following section will come after Section 6A of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
6AA: “Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall without the written authorization of the author be permitted to use any audio-visual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof.”
*The expression “author” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (d) of section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957.
Additionally, there has been an amendment proposed in Section 7 to introduce Penal Provisions for violating provisions of Section 6 AA. In Section 7 of the principal Act, after sub-section 1 the following subsection (1A) shall be inserted:
“If any person contravenes the provisions of Section 6AA, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with a fine which may extend to 10 lakh rupees or with both.”
Ø The Bill mentions punishment with imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine up to Rs. 10 lakh, or both. But, the bill does not mention the minimum term for imprisonment or the minimum fine. Hence, the Committee recommended that both a minimum term for imprisonment and the minimum fine should be specified in the bill.
Ø The Committee also observed that the fine of Rs. 10 lakh is insignificant and hence should be raised. The Committee then recommended enhancing the maximum fine to a range of 5%-10% of the audited gross production costs of a film.
Ø According to the Standing Committee the bill does not specify the punishment for the mentioned offense i.e. whether it is bailable or non-bailable. The Committee, therefore, recommended that the Ministry should consider specifying the nature of the offense in this clause to remove any ambiguity.
Ø The Bill lacked the fair use provision i.e. it lacked the provision which permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the copyright holder. The Committee also noted that the Copyright Act 1952 covers fair use while the Cinematograph Act, 1954 does not. Hence, it was proposed that the Bill should have a fair use provision because it will provide adequate safeguards to persons utilizing short clips of films for non-commercial purposes.
Ø The Bill prohibits knowingly making copies of a film without authorization. The Committee proposed that the Bill should clearly define the word ‘knowingly’ to prevent the prosecution of innocent persons.
Ø The Committee observed that India is not a signatory to the anti-counterfeiting trade agreements. Such trade agreements cover intellectual property rights issues between countries ranging in various areas including movies and music. Hence, it will be difficult to apply provisions of the Bill in case of digital piracy originating across the border. The Committee recommended that a national law on the lines of the Digital Economy Act adopted by a few countries such as the USA and the UK should be considered. Such a law will provide a legal basis for mediation on these matters with other countries.
The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 12 February 2019 was then referred to the Standing Committee on Information Technology (16th Lok Sabha) on 22 February 2019 for examination and the report which has to be submitted within two months. The Committee after hearing the views of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the proposed amendment at their sitting held on 6th March 2019, considering wide consequences of the proposed Amendment Bill on the film industry across the country and the public at large felt the urgent need to have a detailed examination of the Bill and to seek views/suggestions of experts/ associations/bodies/stakeholders/General Public. But, due to a shortage of time, owing to the declaration on General Elections, the Standing Committee on Information Technology (2018-19) left the matter of the examination of the Bill to the succeeding Committee in the new Lok Sabha.
At the time when the 17th Lok Sabha held, the Bill was again referred to the Standing Committee on Information Technology (2019-20) on 4 October 2019 for examination and the prepared report within two months. Since the Committee was occupied with the time-bound exercise of examination of Demand for Grants (2019-20 and 2020-21) related to the four Ministries they sought an extension of time up to the second week of March 2020. The committee received thirteen views and suggestions and after the clarifications in the report, it was considered and adopted by the committee at their sitting held on 13 March 2020.
According to the Union Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, “There are penal provisions for unauthorized camcording and duplication of films.” So keeping in mind all such conditions there should be stricter norms in the use of smartphones, Google glasses, and other such electronic devices in theatres.
Cinema being an important instrument for expressing ideas and free thoughts should not be subjected to any kind of censorship. Though one should remember the practical factors of our society in which such ideas are broadcasted i.e., in the process of expressing ideas and thoughts one should not disturb the peace and security of the society, since it can influence the society at large, caution must be taken while screening the film to avoid any kind of mayhem and danger to public security.
The vision of the filmmakers plays an important part because that is shown in the film and it has the power to bring about positive or negative change in the minds of people. Especially while showing crime and courtroom scenes one must portray the reality and not the imagination one. They should clearly show that the courtrooms are not ‘grand palaces’. That is why the lawyers keep taking digs at Bollywood by constantly stating things like, “This is not a filmy courtroom scene where you can just call in a witness without notice.” Many a time, Bollywood has demonstrated law wrongly and compelled the audience that one cannot place confidence in the legal framework. But there are some movies which have done exceptionally well in depicting law, limitations, and boundaries that have been set by law, what all things create hindrance in the delivery of justice, etc. Through these movies, people have gained knowledge and attention to issues that were obscure to them.
The Certification Board must positively review a film and ensure harmony between freedom of expression and peace in society.