"Cinema constantly remakes itself, but whether this is understood as
homage, imitation or theft depends upon historically specific technologies such
as copyright law and authorship, film reviewing and exhibition practices.
The world today has entered into an era of instant technology. A person sitting
in the remotest corner of India can enjoy live performance taking place in
faraway places like America or Africa, thanks to electronic (parallel) media.
With the advent of the Internet, YouTube, Torrents, and other such platforms,
today's audience is exposed to the latest technologies and filmmaking styles
from across the globe, resulting in their expectations soaring to new heights.
While all these have made technology among people more effective and efficient
both in terms of time and cost and at the same time they pose the greatest
threat to the copyright world.
However, this growth has also seen an increase in violation of IP rights,
infringement of copyright, and disputes over ownership of content despite the
existence of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act since 1998. Even though we
have a strong judicial system as our backbone, the legal framework needs
improvement and modification. Legal concerns and issues of the Indian film
industry are too diverse and various forms of violation of IP rights often
remain a major point of debate and discussion.
Importance of Study
The Indian film industry has shown tremendous growth and it is expected to grow
even more in the coming years hence in order to build awareness about the
importance of copyright in the making of films, it is very important to keep
intact and uphold the element of creativity which acts as the basic function in
the industry and it becomes essential that there should be certain strong laws
to safeguard the originality and creativity, This is where Copyright laws become
more important as the sole guardian of one's indigenous and creative work so
that the industry can function smoothly.
The major reason behind the growth in the film industry is undoubtedly the
creativity in content, it is quite often said that "Content is the King". The
whole industry is based on this element of creativity for which it can feel
proud, but this element has to be protected in a very strict sense Thus, in
order to protect the creativity certain changes as to be brought and this
hypothesis will be proven by emphasis on the following points.
- The existing copyright system is not extending protection to the
cinematograph film industry in India.
- There are serious concerns expressed from the field to reset the
copyright laws to strengthen the cinematograph film industry.
- Lack of knowledge about IP rights is also an issue, which draws the
attention of stalk holders to be more conscience and their claims and
Objectives of the Study
- What are the legal issues relating to cinematograph film works in
- What are the key objects of copyrighted work in cinematograph film
- What is the scope of cinematograph film works under copyrighted law?
- What are the legal remedies in case of violation of cinematograph film
- To study the scope of cinematograph film works in the copyright act of
- To analyze the scope in law and concerning cases on the issue of
exclusive rights in cinematograph film works.
- To study the ownership rights, assignment, and license through instances
of cases in cinematography film work.
To make a detailed critical study of the issue, this paper primarily employs the
Doctrinal method and presents a picture of the present scenario and the widely
discussed matters and issues related to the field and how it is assuming the
shape of a big problem in the Indian film industry.
As part of the Secondary Data Analysis, this paper employs books journals
articles Case Study Methods for presenting some of the most befitting cases
which amply demonstrate the seriousness of the issue and the various ways it is
posing a significant challenge to the Indian industry
Scope and limitation
The Copyright Act, of 1957 protects original literary, dramatic, musical, and
artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings. Films are
considered an important art form with social, cultural, and economic impact.
They are basically collaborative works, fusing the creativity and effort of
multiple collaborators such as scriptwriters, actors, directors, costume and set
designers, music composers, editors,s, etc.
Copyright is present in all stages in the making of the film (development,
financing, marketing, and distribution) and it is important that key players in
the industry know what and how the various rights can be protected. Whether you
are making a low-budget short film, a documentary, or a Hollywood blockbuster,
we need to know about some important legal issues that can affect the industry.
Copyright does not protect the idea but it's manifestation of an idea. That it
protects the way of expressing that particular Idea otherwise, every other work
will be an infringing work of the previous one. The judiciary now has to step in
and outline the criteria and requisites for copyright infringement.
What if a filmmaker culminates the plots of different movies in a single film?
Is the quality which has been copied matter or the quantity? As what happened in
the 'Baghi' case. It is important for the Judges as well that they should watch
both the films which are in question of law as what happened in the case of
'Knockout'. Until and unless one watches the film how can he decide whether
there is a copyright infringement or not?
It is difficult for the court to decide "who had copied whom" like in the case
of 'Gajhini' which was a remake of its Tamil version was copied from Hollywood's
'Momento'. Now, the producer of Tamil Gajhini should not claim any right over
the originality of their work since it is a copy of another. Shall courts should
intervene and take Suo moto in such cases?
The issue of copyright infringement is addressed to the court but, is not often
decided by the court. Concerned parties are more willing to settle the matter
amicably outside the court of law. Deciding "what mounts as an original work" is
more important. Now if we consider Partner (2009), a copy of Will Smith's Hitch'
based on the fact that the story revolves around a simple guy and a matchmaker,
should we not look over one of our own gems 'Chotti Si Baat' which starred Ashok
Kumar and Amol Palekar in 1975? It revolves around the same story of a simple
guy and a matchmaker
In this era of resistance and less access, it is impossible that comparisons
won't be happening. It is inevitable and bound to happen. The key is to
carefully observe that at what degree the work is dependable on the said copied
work. In this era, two different works can have nexus, though, both may be
original in their own sphere. It is common to decide whether a work is copied or
- Constantine Verevis, 'Film Remakes' (Edinburgh University Press, 2006)
- which was published on the Microsoft website by Bill Gates 1996
- Shruthi Sambamurthy,"Copyrights and films" available at http://www.legaleraonline.com/articles/copyrights-and-films-a-legal-view-point
- Copyright on cinematography film works, https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/199650/7/chapter%20-%205.pdf
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Karin Paul
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