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IMI and IFPI welcome govt’s nod to WIPO treaties

The approval is a step towards the objectives laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy adopted by the govt on May 12, 2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the recommendation to have access to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty, which extends the coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment.

This has been a long-standing demand of the copyright industries that rely on commercialisation of IP. The recommendation was submitted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The approval is a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the government on May 12, 2016, which aims to get value for IPRs through commercialisation by providing guidance and support to EPR owners about commercial opportunities of e-commerce through internet and mobile platforms.

The Copyright Act, 1957 was amended in 2012 to bring it in conformity with WCT and WPPT. It has provisions to extend the protection of copyrights contained therein to the digital environment. Further it recognises the rights specific to digital environment, of making work available, to address ‘on-demand’ and other interactive modes of access.

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty came in force on May 20, 2002 and has 96 contracting parties as its members. WPPT deals with rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in digital environment – (i) Performers (actors, singers, musicians) (ii) Producers of Phonograms (Sound recordings). The treaty empowers right owners in their negotiations with new digital platforms and distributors. It recognises moral rights of the performers for the first time and provides exclusive economic rights to them.

Both the treaties provide framework for creators and right owners to use technical tools to protect their works and safeguard information about their use – Protection of Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) and Rights Management Information (RMI).

The benefits of the approval of these treaties include:

This will help India to enable creative right-holders enjoy the fruit of their labour through international copyright system that can be used to secure a return on the investment made in producing and distributing creative works.

This will help in facilitating international protection of domestic rights holder by providing them level-playing field in other countries as India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and these treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad.

This will help to instil confidence and distribute creative works in digital environment with return on investment.

This will also spur business growth and contribute to the development of a vibrant creative economy and cultural landscape.

Lauding the decision of the Cabinet, Frances Moore, CEO, IFPI, said, “IFPI welcomes this move from the Indian government. Accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties is excellent news for the protection of Indian music within India and globally.”

Shridhar Subramaniam, Chairman, IMI, said, “This move from the government of India is a huge victory for all Indian IPR owners. The provisions to protect copyright in the digital environment were much needed. This would enable growth for Indian IP by instilling confidence and spur investments and growth in the creative Industries.”

Blaise Fernandes, President and CEO, IMI, said, “Kudos to the DIPP for implementing this landmark decision. This resolution will ensure additional investments for music content creation in India as all content from the Indian market will now be protected globally. Additionally monetisation of Indian content will get a further boost in the global markets. This is a positive step and we only see this going upwards.”

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