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
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,
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 Delh
i, the court held that censorship will impose
obvious restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
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 colors.
This act incorporates the provisions for remedies in case of infringement of
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.
- 1950 AIR 129
- (2013) 12 SCC 73