On July 31, 2023, the Parliament passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, a historic legislation amending the Cinematograph Act after 40 years since its last significant amendment in 1984.
The main objective of this landmark bill is to address the issue of 'piracy,' which has been causing substantial losses of around Rs 20,000 crore to the film industry.
The Indian film industry is one of the largest and most globally influential industries, producing over 3,000 films annually in more than 40 languages.
The bill introduces stringent penalties, including a minimum of 3 months of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 3 lakh, which can extend up to 3 years of imprisonment and a fine equivalent to the total audited cost, to deter piracy.
According to the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, the Indian film industry is projected to reach a worth of $100 billion within the next three years, providing employment opportunities to lakhs of people.
As a significant relief to filmmakers, the requirement to renew film licenses every 10 years has been eliminated, making them valid for a lifetime and avoiding the need for frequent visits to government offices for renewal.
The Cinematograph Amendment Bill aims to tackle the problem of unauthorized recording and exhibition of films and combat piracy, especially through the transmission of unauthorized film copies on the internet.
Another objective of the bill is to improve the classification of films for certification and streamline the process of film certification for public exhibition, which is handled by the Central Board of Film Certification.