This article has been written by Ms.Pamishetti Supriya, a student studying BBA LLB(Hons.) from ICFAI Law School ,The ICFAI University , Hyderabad. The author is a 5th year Law student .
India as a nation cannot possibly survive without media and entertainment. Movies, memes and music move us much more than any other form of entertainment previously available to mankind. As a consequence of its constantly evolving nature, it is highly unlikely that the industry would slow down. With the current escalation in technology, the interest in searching and acquiring new, unique and different mediums of entertainment like web series et cetera is on the rise. The Indian media and entertainment industry, in particular, is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world.The industry is incredibly rich, highly fragmented and extremely diversified. There is now increasing investment in film production and reducing the shelf lives of movies that make it to the theatre. As the technology that reaches India helps entertainment to reach our large population, the role that this industry now plays in our everyday life cannot be curtailed. As a result of this, the continuously expansive industry also requires a continuously adaptive legal framework so as to maintain peace and order. If fighting for the freedom of speech and expression, reading about the law that protects incredibly novel and innovative media, drafting agreements and the possibility of arguing to protect Shah Rukh Khan’s famous dance move excites you, then entertainment law is definitely the field for you
India cannot thrive as a nation devoid of media and entertainment. Movies, memes, and music have a significantly greater emotional impact on humans than any other way of entertainment generally available to humanity. Due to the industry’s ongoing evolution, it is highly improbable that it will slow down. With the rapid advancement of technology, interest in discovering and acquiring new, distinctive, and unusual forms of entertainment, such as web series, is increasing. Indian media and entertainment is among the world’s fastest expanding businesses. The industry is extraordinarily diverse, highly fragmented, and highly diversified. There is presently an increase in film production investment and a decrease in the shelf lives of films that make it to the theatre. As technology advances and entertainment becomes more accessible to India’s enormous population, the influence that this business currently plays in our daily lives cannot be diminished. As a result, the ever-expanding business necessitates an ever-adaptive legal framework to ensure peace and order. If the prospect of defending free speech and expression, reading about the legislation that protects very creative and innovative media, negotiating contracts excites you, then media law is the career for you.
Over the last few years, the Media and Entertainment Industry (M&E) has grown and gained significance in India. It is estimated to generate approximately USD 35 million in revenue. The M&E Industry has gained innovative technological trends and increase in internet usage by suppliers and consumers.
Being a wide sector, there is high probability of misuse in M&E. For effective regulation, various legislations with equally varying purposes have been enacted. Legislations like Cinematograph Act, 1952, The Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995, The Information Technology Act, 2000 is applicable for regulating content on mediums of exhibition like cinema theatres, television and internet.
Legislations like Copyright Act, 1957 and Trademarks Act 1999 was enacted for protecting intellectual properties like trademark and copyrights. The punishments for offences such as defamation, hurting religious sentiments, etc. that take place in this industry are dealt under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The first area of concern in the M&E sector is Right to free speech and censorship. The freedom of communication and expression through mediums such as electronic media and published articles is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Article 19 guarantees freedom of speech as an integral aspect of each individual’s right to self- development.
In Brij Bhushan & others vs. State of Delhi, the court held that censorship will impose obvious restrictions on freedom of speech and expression. Various authoritative bodies like CBFC, I&B Ministry are imposing restrictions by censoring films to curtail creative freedom of speech and expression. Examples of such censored films include Udta Punjab, Lipstick under My Bhurkha etc. As Democracy is the most important feature in today’s world and an effective democracy requires free expression of opinion.
The second area of concern in the M&E Sector is copyright infringement and trademark protection. The Copyright Act, 1957 provides copyright protection and registration of literary, drama, music, sound recording and artistic work. The main purpose of the act is to prevent the abuse of monopolies provided by the copyrights and creating an equal balance between individual rights and public interest. The Trademarks Act of 1999 mandates protection to names, titles, word, letter, graphic artwork, shape of products, words and combination of colours. This act incorporates the provisions for remedies in case of infringement of trademark.
The third area of concern is piracy. Online piracy means stealing an owner’s property from the internet that has already been licensed and resulting in damage and loss. Under the M&E Industry, the film sector loses $2.8 billion of its total revenue to piracy every year. The rise of digital downloads and availability of cheap rental options makes the movie theatre business go down. The major source of piracy is because of cam- cording in theatres and release of films in other countries a day before the release of the film. These films are released online even before the actual release.
To prevent piracy of the films, producers and film makers has to obtain John Doe orders from the court. In Shreya Singhal v/s Union of India, the court held that removal of the online content should be done only if the adjudicatory body issues an order compelling intermediaries to remove the online content. When the involved parties fail to comply with the order to eliminate illegal content, the Supreme Court decision protects the intermediaries from liability.
Under the Copyrights Act, 1957, sections 54 to 62 deals with the provisions of civil remedies that are available for copyright protection in civil courts. Section 63 to section 70 deals with the provisions for criminal remedy when a person knowingly infringes the copyright in a work, other rights conferred by the act or knowingly abets the infringement. Any person held guilty will be prisoned up to 3 years but not less than 6 months, has to pay fine not less than fifty thousand rupees but may extend up to 2 lakhs, searching and seizure of the infringing goods and delivery of the infringed goods to the owner. There has been an increase in the criminal cases filed for hurting of religious sentiments, defamation, sale of obscene objects, etc. Most complaints filed are for the sake of publicity and media attention. The nuisance caused due to such cases is a big hurdle in the industry.
The M&E industry is a continually innovating industry which is governed by multiple regulations. The key areas of concern Right to free speech and censorship, Trademark infringement and Piracy are driving factors to ensure protection of right and establish fair rules of playing in the market. Legislations in these areas pave the way for the expansion of the industry.
Media law is the body of law that regulates the production and use of media. Media law can apply to a wide variety of media types, including broadcast television, the internet, and print media. Media law practice encompasses all legal issues that may arise during the production or consumption of various forms of media. What can be written and aired is governed by media law. Intellectual property law is also a part of this field of law. For example copyright and ownership. The law of the media is separated into groups based on the sorts of activities that each have their own set of regulations, norms, case law, and so on.
India’s media business has grown at an astonishing rate within the last few years. The Indian government has facilitated the expansion of this business by liberalising and lowering entry barriers for international investors, most recently with the liberalisation of broadcasting sector standards. Numerous facets of the industry have seen extraordinary improvements and the use of cutting-edge technologies to stay current. The application of technologies has been broadened to all stages of content development, digitization, and globalisation. This sector has grown steadily and continues to do so now. The laws that govern the media industry and the worlds of television, cinema, radio, music, and online advertising all fall under the purview of media law. The governing processes and legal frameworks that control the media industry’s growth in India are governed by our media law. Media law generally comprises business, financial, intellectual property, public relations, and privacy rules. Numerous Acts have been established within India during the years to address the legal challenges confronting the media business:
1. Press and Registration Books Act, 1867– This Act was implemented to regulate printing presses and periodicals for the purpose of preserving and registering books. It was a watershed moment in the history of media law. It featured provisions governing the registration of books, the disclosure of press keepers and newspaper publishers.
2. Vernacular Press Act, 1878 – This Act was enacted to strengthen the control over the language used in the press. It was enacted with the primary objective of eradicating Amrit Bazar Patrika, which was deemed bilingual within this Act.
3. Indian Telegraph Act, 1885– This Act granted the Government the sole authority to grant telegraph licences. It authorised the government to intercept messages and seize licenced establishments in the event of a public emergency or in the name of public safety.
4. Press Act, 1910 – This Act’s primary feature was that it authorised the government to compel any newspaper in circulation to provide security.
5. Indian Press Act, 1931– The Defence India Act was enacted in 1914 to enforce press restrictions. In 1930, the Indian Press Ordinance strengthened government control over the press. In 1931, the Indian Press Emergency Act was enacted. In 1947, the Government created a Press Enquiry Committee, which issued recommendations for repealing the 1931 Act and replacing it with the Press (Objectionable Matter) Act, 1951.
6. Copyrights Act, 1957 – This Act, together with the 1958 Copyrights Rules, was implemented to provide exclusive rights to an author or creator of an original work.
7. Cinematograph Act, 1952-With the enactment of this Act, the cinematographed film was certified. Provisions for the examination of films and their approval for unrestricted or confined use by particular categories of individuals were enacted.
8. Cable Television Network Act, 1994 – This Act governs cable operators’ operations by requiring mandatory registration under specific circumstances. Under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, the Program and Advertising Code restricts the substance of any programme or advertising.
9. Trade Marks Act, 1999 – This Act protects names, titles, letters, words, and other distinctive words or artwork associated with media.
10. Right to Information Act, 2005 – This Act expanded India’s media freedom and provided provisions for potential free speech.
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