The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023 that has provisions to curb transmission of pirated film content on the internet, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said.
Briefing reporters on the decisions of the Union Cabinet, Thakur said the bill will be introduced in the upcoming session of Parliament.
He said the bill also has provisions to classify films on the basis of age group, instead of the current practice of 'U', 'A', and 'UA'.
"U" is for unrestricted public exhibition and "A" is restricted to adult audiences, while "UA" is for unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of 12 and "S" for special category audiences such as doctors and scientists.
It is learnt that the amendments seek to add new classification – "UA-7+", "UA-13+" and "UA-16+" in place for 12 years.
Besides improving the process to certify films by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the amendments also seek to bring about uniformity in categorisation of films and content across platforms.
The amendments are also expected to harmonise the law with executive orders and various Supreme Court judgements.
Thakur said wide-ranging consultations were held with stakeholders on the Bill.
"This Bill will live up to the expectations of the industry.... This Bill is going to satisfy each and every one without any controversy, the minister said.
He said there were demands from various stakeholders to take action to curb piracy, on age-based film classification and certain redundant provisions in the existing Act.
A Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2019 and the new draft was based on consultations with the film industry and also incorporates the best practices from across the world, he said.
Thakur refrained from sharing more details of the Bill and said its provisions would become clear once the draft legislation is introduced in Parliament.
Last week, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra, at an event in Mumbai, had said that provisions regarding transmission of film content on the internet were being added in the Bill.
"If that happens, it will go a long way in protecting copyright and we will be able to block those websites where pirated content is transmitted. But let's see how it goes in Parliament and how it proceeds, Chandra had said.
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