The Cinematography (Amendment) Bill, 2023: A Comprehensive Approach to Curbing Piracy and Revolutionizing Film Certification
The Indian film industry has long battled the menace of piracy, which not
only affects filmmakers' revenues but also hampers the growth of the creative
ecosystem. To tackle this pressing issue and reform the film certification
process, the Central Government recently tabled the Cinematography (Amendment)
Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha. This article analyses the proposed legislation
using the IRAC method (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) to understand its
potential impact on piracy prevention and film certification.
The primary issue addressed by the Cinematography (Amendment) Bill, 2023 is the
rampant piracy in the Indian film industry. The unauthorized recording and
exhibition of films have plagued the industry, causing significant financial
losses and hindering its growth. Moreover, the existing film certification
system, with its limited validity and traditional categorization, requires
modernization to cater to diverse audiences.
The proposed bill seeks to introduce new sections in the Cinematograph Act,
1952, to address piracy. Section 6AA prohibits the unauthorized recording of
films, specifically preventing any part of the film's recording for exclusive
usage on the same device. Section 6AB, on the other hand, aims to curb the
unauthorized exhibition of films. Both these provisions impose strict penalties
on those involved in piracy, including imprisonment of up to three years or a
fine of up to ₹10 lakh or both.
Additionally, the bill aims to revolutionize film certification by replacing the
current 10-year validity period with perpetual validity. Instead of the
conventional 'U', 'A', and 'UA' categories, the legislation proposes age-based
classifications for films. These new classifications include 'UA 7+' (suitable
for audiences above 7 years), 'UA 13+' (suitable for audiences above 13 years),
and 'UA 16+' (suitable for audiences above 16 years).
The Cinematography (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to make piracy a punishable
offence and strengthen the legal framework against unauthorized recording and
exhibition of films. By imposing stringent penalties on offenders, including
imprisonment and hefty fines, the bill aims to deter potential wrongdoers and
create a robust deterrent against piracy.
Moreover, the proposed age-based film certification system intends to cater to
diverse audience preferences and sensibilities. It ensures that films reach
their appropriate target groups while providing parents with clear guidance on
the suitability of content for children of different age groups. The perpetual
validity of film certification streamlines the certification process and removes
the need for repeated re-certifications, saving time and resources for
Furthermore, empowering the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to issue
separate certificates for television and other media platforms ensures that
films comply with specific broadcasting guidelines and standards. This move
enhances the adaptability of films across different mediums and improves the
overall content regulation on television and other digital platforms.
The Cinematography (Amendment) Bill, 2023 presents a comprehensive approach to
tackle piracy and modernize film certification in the Indian film industry. By
introducing stringent penalties for piracy, it sends a clear message that
unauthorized recording and exhibition of films will not be tolerated. The
age-based film certification system caters to the diverse preferences of
audiences and provides parents with valuable guidance for age-appropriate
Moreover, the perpetual validity of film certification and the introduction of
separate certificates for different media platforms streamline the certification
process and promote compliance with broadcasting guidelines.
If implemented effectively, this legislation has the potential to significantly
curb piracy, boost the film industry's revenue, and foster an environment
conducive to creativity and innovation. However, it will be crucial for the
government, filmmakers, and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to ensure
the successful implementation and enforcement of these reforms for the
betterment of the Indian film ecosystem.
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