The Union Cabinet has approved an amendment to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, adding penal provisions of three-year jail term or Rs 10 lakh fine or both for those found guilty of film piracy and copyright infringement.

Addressing the media, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on wednesday: “If one, without authorisation, undertakes digital duplication of various creative works or by any other means of digital technology, one can be made to suffer three-year jail punishment and Rs 10 lakh fine.”

“This step will help our film industry in dealing with the menace of piracy,” he said.

The Indian film industry has long been demanding that the government should consider amendments to the law preventing camcording and movie piracy. On 19 January 2019, at the inaugural function of the National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made an announcement in this regard. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting then placed the matter for consideration of the Union Cabinet.

The decision to check film piracy provides for insertion of new Section 6AA for prohibition of unauthorised recording and amendment in Section 7 to introduce penal provisions for violating provisions of Section 6AA.

Section 6AA of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 will read: “Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall without the written authorization of the author be permitted to use any audio visual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof.”

In Section 7 of the Act, subsection (1A) shall be inserted, which will read: “If any person contravenes the provisions of section 6AA, he shall be punishable with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to 10 lakh rupees or with both.”

Besides giving relief against piracy and infringing content online, the government said, the proposed amendments would increase industry revenues, boost job creation, and fulfill objectives of the National IP policy.