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Laws And Regulations Of The Indian Media And Entertainment Industry

The system if 'Mass Media' vary from place to place all around the world in accordance to political, economical and regional climate of the area it is covering. When we look into the Indian media it has its own perspective which states that media is free but on the other hand is always subjected to certain restrictions which seems to be reasonable by our government under the name of its constitution. But the continuous globalisation and privatisation of this sector has entirely changed its position currently in our nation.

The Indian media and entertainment sector consists of various sub sectors under its folds which can be classified as television, cinema and prints. The regulatory body which governs the media and entertainment sector in India is embodied in the Cable Networks Act 1995, and Prasar Bharti Act 1990. The government bodies which regulate this sector includes the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Prasar Bharti. These are the structures which has the authority to issue guidelines, policies, regulations and to grant licences in order to broadcast in the media.

Indian Film/ Cinema

The Indian film industry has been divided and further sub-divided into various regional sectors as the country is culturally diverse and there are audiences from all the sectors who want to be represented in the Big Screen. The Indian film industry is run by various production houses, companies who are responsible for financing, casting, scripting the said movies.

Organizations Looking After Rights Of The Film Producers

The main organizations which look after the rights of the producers in the film industry are as follows:
  • Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association
  • Film Makers Combine
  • Association Of Motion Pictures and Television Programme

The Indian Film Industry also consists of various independent associations and organisations which safeguard the interests of its members, they are as follows:
  • Cine Artists Association
  • Theatre Owners Association
  • Distributors Association
  • Indian Motion Pictures Distributors Associations

Legislations Regulating The Indian Film Industry

The legislations which regulate the Indian film industry are as follows:
  • The Copyright Act of 1957, which defines
    1. The various rights which exists in the copyright of a film.
    2. Rights of the author of the film
    3. The term/time period of the copyright
    4. The process of assignment of a licence for the copyright.

      The Copyright Act of 1957 specifically sets out the regulations on the infringement of the copyright of a movie/film, and it is considered as one of the most crucial laws in the media and entertainment industry.
  • The Cinematograph Act of 1952, which includes
    1. Provisions for licensing and certifying the cinematography of films.
    2. And also includes the regulation of exhibition by means of cinematography.

Regulatory Authorities

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is the structure which is liable for administering rules and laws which relate to the information and broadcasting if press and films in the media industry.

The Film sector of MIB consists of:
  • National Film Archives of India
  • National Film Development Corporation
  • Central Board of Film Certification.
For a film to be certified for public exhibition the central board of film has to cover certain criteria such as the film which is to be released publically should not,
  1. Be against the sovereignty and integrity of the nation
  2. Be against the security of the nation
  3. Create international problems or misunderstanding among nations
  4. Be against the public morality, decency and order.
After fulfilling these criteria the films are certified as per section 5(B) of the Cinematograph Act of 1952.

Contractual Aspects Of The Film Industry

The contractual aspect of this industry is quite the base of its existence.

The various kind of contractual aspect can be classified as follows [1]:
  • Finance Agreements
    These are the kind of agreements which contains the investors as the parties to the agreement as they are the ones who are financing the project in order to be made. These agreements include various banks and financial institution and also other co-producers who interested to invest their money in the making of the film.
  • Actors, Writer, Director and Crew Agreements
    These kinds of agreements are quite popular in nature and also one of the important agreements in this sector. These agreements are the kind in which artists and author seek for copyright for their work and contribution in order to get paid in form of royalties.
  • Agreement of Distribution
    This agreement conducts the public showcase of the film around the world which commonly conducted between the producers who distributes the rights of the film.
  • Literary Acquisition Agreement
    This agreement detects whether the acquired script is original, adapted or translated from a previously existing work. This is an essential agreement since the producers are required to know the origins of the script they are purchasing.

Areas Of Litigation

The common areas of litigations in the film sector are as follows:
  • Claims of Intellectual Property rights regarding the ownership of rights are quite common in this sector.
  • Trademark infringement which includes producers using the production companies names and logos which are previously owned by other companies.
  • Piracy issues which occurs due to the existence of:
    1. Huge number of low income group
    2. High ticket prices
    3. Easy access of digital gadgets and recording devices

      A study which was held by the Motion Picture Distribution Association (MPDA) has ranked India as one of the top 10 countries which leads in Online Piracy [2].
  • Censorship which is governed by the Central Board Of Film Certification has the authority to censor a part or whole film and often certain injunctions are also soughted in order to stop a film to be released due its sensitive contents.

Indian Tv/Broadcast And Internet

Indian television channels are run by a public service provider known as 'Doordarshan' and 'Prasar Bharti' which is one of the largest public service broadcaster which has been appointed by the Government of India.

Legislations Regulating The Tv Industry

The laws which regulate the television sector of the media industry [3] are as follows:
  • Cable Television Network Rules of 1994
    This act sets the procedures regarding the registration of the cable in India. This act also sets the programme and advertising code which is to be followed by the cable networks.
  • Cable Television Network (Regulation) act of 1995
    This act gives authorities the right in regards to cable tv networks and acquiring fines when certain regulations are not followed.
  • Other Laws:
    1. The Prasar Bharti Act 1990
    2. The Broadcasting Bill of 2007

Contractual Structures For The Television Industry

Contracts Between Broadcasters And Producers

The television producers enter into contracts with the broadcasters in regard to the airing of their shows on the broadcaster's channels. These contracts consists of specific details like duration of shows, number of episodes, renew terms and conditions if the show succeeds [4].

Contract Of Advertisemnt

It is the contract which is signed between broadcasters and the manufactures of the products which are to be advertised during the commercial breaks on the channel.

Contract Between Dth Operator And Broadcaster

This is the kind of contract which is between broadcaster and DTH platform operators in which the broadcasters come to an agreement with the operators in order to provide their channels in their platform on a subscription.

Areas Of Litigation

The main legal issue that the television industry faces is the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights. This infringement includes:
  1. Copying concept of shows
  2. Copy of script or storylines
There also includes other legal issues regarding 'Infringement of Broadcasting Rights', such as if a broadcasting company has already acquired rights to a certain show any other broadcasting company cannot air that particular show on their channels without paying any royalty fees to the agreement holder.

There are versatile laws and regulations which are there in existence in order to have a proper mechanism through which the media and the entertainment industry can flourish in this country. The legal regulations and laws which are related to the mass media have been there in existence from the beginning of time. During the British rule in India, many such legal rules and regulations related to press and media were established and even after the Independence of our country those laws were utilised and further modernised and improved.

Hence to conclude media and press is an extremely powerful sector in a country and it is very important to be aware of the laws, regulations, and legal properties regarding this sector along with its continuous modernisation along with the changing times of our nation.

Written By: Amrita Ghosh, Institution- KIIT School of Law
This Article emphasises on the Indian media and entertainment sector, it deals with its regulatory bodies, law and regulations and various sub sector which are directly or indirectly affected by it. It gives a detailed study on its evolution and its basic legal requirements for its day to day functioning.

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