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Lawyers, publishers demand changes in Copyright Bill
New Delhi | Thursday, May 27 2010 IST
 
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Eminent lawyers and publishers of the country have demanded changes in the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which seeks to give the author/creator of a piece greater rights over his work.

At a round-table discussion on the Bill last evening, lawyer Siddharth Arya said the Bill had clauses which could be misinterpreted and made bilateral agreements impossible.

According to Section 52 of the amended legislation, the reproduction of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work by a teacher or a student in the course of instruction should not be considered as an infringement of law.

''This could be taken to include anything being done for an educational purpose and could be misused,'' Mr Arya said.

He added that this clause violated the Berne Convention according to which authors of literary and artistic works protected by the Convention had the exclusive right of authorising the reproduction of their works, in any manner or form.

Besides, Jagdish Sagar, head of copyright and entertainment law in a law firm, pointed out that according to the amendment, no one was authorised to give copyright licences except the Copyright Society.

Also, the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994, states that no person or association of persons could carry on the business of issuing or granting licences in respect of any work in which copyright subsists.

However, the latest amendment replaces no person or association of persons with no authors or association of authors.

Noting the phrasing of the legislation, Mr Sagar said, ''Is this amendment saying that one is allowed to grant licenses if one is not an author?'' Penguin India CEO Mark Bryan opined that the fact that laws pertaining to copyright were different for different countries must be kept in mind while drafting any amendement.

Quizzed about the provisions for the visually-challenged in the amended legislation, Mr Sagar told UNI that the Bill had provisions but they were limited.

''The conversion of a book into Braille or other handicap-friendly formats is costly and though Braille conversion will not be considered as copyright infringement, other formats will find a place as technology grows,'' he said.

However, lawyer Nandita Saikia believed that only a limited number of formats would fall within the non-infringement clauses of the Act for it allows ''adaptation, reproduction, issue of copies, or communication to the public of any work in a format which has been specially designed only for the use of persons with disabilities.'' ''But there are many other technologies like audio-books which have not been designed for them. Will they not be exempted from infringement,?'' she said.

Besides, Cambridge University Press, India, managing director Manas Saikia and Indian Society of Authors president Dinesh Mishra said the creative people would get entangled in a web of incomprehensible laws.

-- (UNI) -- 27DI31.xml

 

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