‘Conflict of Interest’ delays Copyright Amendment Bill
The most discussed and highly debated document in film and music fraternity, the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010, could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha on 13th December 2011 due to the uproar caused by the opposition parties in the lower house of Parliament citing “conflict of interest” on part of the Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr. Kapil Sibal.
The main opposition parties including BJP, JD-U, AIADMK, BSP and TDP objected to the introduction of the said Bill by Mr. Kapil Sibal as per the Rule 294 of Parliament’s Ethics Committee, which provides that a member having direct or indirect interest in a matter cannot move a Bill.
The Minister is said to have an indirect interest in the Bill, as his lawyer son represented Super Cassette Industries, a market leader in the music industry, in a case. The opposition parties claimed that the introduction of the Bill by a member having conflict of interest may give unfair advantage to Super Cassettes Industry and/or music industry on a whole. However, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal supported the tabling of the Bill by Mr. Kapil Sibal as his son is an independent lawyer and the aforesaid Rule is applicable in situations where conflict of interest is created due to actions of spouse and dependants of the member presenting the Bill.
The Bill was supposed to be introduced and passed in both houses of Parliament by this year. However, the present circumstances may delay the process of passing the Bill further.
The important amendments proposed in the Bill, that are discussed in detail in an earlier post here, can broadly be classified into:
A. Modifications with respect to Cinematographic works and Sound Recordings;
B. Exceptions to copyright infringement;
C. Digital Rights Management provisions;
D. Statutory license for cover versions;
E. Statutory license for broadcasting etc.
With the draconian Bill hitting a roadblock, the cine producers in India can breath a sigh of temporary relief. With the issue of conflict of interest hitting the Bill, one can now reasonable hope that the Bill will be debated over, before it is passed.
Author: Vintee Tiwari