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Bill To Protect Indian Musicians, Change Copyright Act Mooted

Despite opposition from broadcasters, the Indian government has approved the introduction of a bill to amend the Copyright Act of 1957 in a far-reaching step that will give artists and musicians protection, long overdue recognition and locus standi. The amendments will usher in a new era for not just composers but creators of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works in India. In 2005, the ministry of human resource development, assisted by international standards body World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), set up a 30 member core group headed by the education secretary to extend copyright protection to digital media. In November, when the first draft of 26 changes to the copyright act by the Indian Copyright Office came to notice on activist Naavi's site (the first draft of amendments is here), the music and film industry went up in arms on not being invited to share their opinion before the government finalised it. When It Might Come Into Effect; No Retrospective Applicability The bill has received approval from the union cabinet but it is yet to go through the parliament, which could happen by Budget session. It will still not come into effect until it receives the President's assent and is published in the official gazette. "This could happen in two months," said Pavan Duggal, Advocate, Supreme Court of Delhi and President, Cyberlaws.net. When it comes into effect, the new Act will not have a retrospective effect - so content that has been produced already will not be protected by it…

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