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Media and Entertainment Licensing in India

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Overview of Media and Entertainment Licensing

In this article, we shall talk about content licensing, media, and entertainment law. Media and entertainment have become vital parts of our lives. It influences every segment of our lives in unknown ways. Like every coin has two sides, the media also has both positive and negative influences on the public. The influence of media and entertainment, and why licensed content is good for you and your business. It is quite evident that the media and entertainment industry has today formed its own league and has already created a buzz.  It includes distribution and production.  License and why license is important shall be the prime focus of this article.

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Media and entertainment law in India

It is a specialization of law that deals with issues like copyright, defamation, censorship, free speech issues, RTI, privacy, etc. Entertainment Law deals with legal matters of the entertainment industries. Skills like drafting, negotiation, communication skills, and critical thinking play a very important role in the field of entertainment law. Entertainment Law is a combination of laws that have an impact on the entertainment industry of a nation.

Entertainment law

Entertainment law covers an area of law that includes all sorts of media {TV, Film, music, publishing, advertising, and news media. The media and entertainment industry comprises various segments: Movies, Television, Music, Publishing, Radio, Internet, Advertising, and Gaming.

Entertainment law is subdivided into Films, Multimedia, Entertainment, and Publishing, Print media, Music, Television, visual art and design, and theatre.

  • FILM: Chain of title issues, talent agreements {screenwriters, composers, actors}, issues related to copyright
  • INTERNET: Censorship, copyright, freedom of information, Privacy, and telecommunications issues.
  • MUSIC: talent agreements, producer agreements, and synchronization rights.
  • PUBLICATION and PRINT MEDIA: Author agreements and general intellectual property issues especially relating to copyright.

Media Law

Media Law is a legal field that refers to advertising, broadcasting, censorship, copyright, and entertainment, freedom of information, privacy, and telecommunications. 

  • Press and Registration Books Act, 1867 was an important event in the field of Media Laws.
  • The act contains rules for registration of books, a declaration by keepers of presses and publishers of newspapers, delivery of books, and penalties. 
  • Vernacular Press Act, 1878 was introduced for better control of language press with the main aim to quell Amrita Bazar Patrika considered to be bilingual under this act. 
  • Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 was introduced for which the government had the exclusive privilege with respect to telegraph and to grant the license. 
  • Press Act, 1878 empowered the government top demand security from any newspaper.

Lists of Acts and Rules applicable to the Media Industry:

  • The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867
  • Registration of Newspapers Rules, 1956
  • The Press and Registration Appellate Board, 1961
  • The Press Council Act, 1978
  • The Press Council Rules,  1979
  • The Press Council Rules, 1978
  • The Press Council Regulations, 2006
  • The Newspapers Act,1956
  • Copyright Act, 1957
  • The Cinematograph Act, 1952
  • The Prasar Bharati Act, 1990
  • The Cable Television Networks Act, 1995

Copyright rule 1958 was enacted to set exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work. 

Legal Issues and Challenges of the Entertainment and Media Industry In India

The media and entertainment industry is a huge one with several laws governing it. We have laws such as the Cinematograph Act of 1952, the Cable Television Network Regulation Act of 2000. The usage of media and entertainment is growing rapidly as a result of digitization and internet use. As the industry is expanding at such an unpredictable rate, it also gets some unavoidable challenges. 

Here are some of the Challenges:

Copyright

Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property. Copyright law gives creators of original material the exclusive right to further use and duplicate that material for a given amount of time at which point the copyrighted item becomes public domain. The roots of copyright can be traced back to colonial times in 1847.

In 1914, a few changes are as follows:

  • Commencement of criminal sanctions in case of violation and copyright.
  • It widened the term “copyright” and modified it as a right wherein the author of the original work has the right to reproduce, change, produce, or public a translation of the work.

In 2012, the parliament passed the copyright bill that aimed at bringing the Indian copyright laws to the international level.

The changes brought by the 2012 amendment were:

  • Amendments in the rights to artistic work like cinematograph films and sound recordings.
  • Amendments in the mode of a grant of license and assignments 
  • Safeguards against internet piracy 

Copyright protects an extremely wide range of creative expressions.  Here is a quick review.

  • Copyright in literary works - Literary works are protected by copyright. Literary works include books, newspapers, magazines, journals, novels, poetry, and lyrics of a song, tables, and compilations. 
  • Copyrights in Dramatic Works - Dramatic works include dance, screenplays, ballets, and much more.  Copyright in the field of drama protects the original work of creators, composers, dramatics, poets, and authors who are the authors of replication of their works. 
  • Musical work means work that consists of music and it is made of a combination of graphic notations that represent music through visual symbols. The author of a musical work is known as a composer. 
  • Sound Recordings comprise any person’s speech or song sung by any person with or without music such as any audio or any podcast. They are also subjected to music works

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights are legal rights that result from the intellectual invention, innovation, and discovery in the industrial, scientific, literary, and artistic fields. Indian media and entertainment may face legal challenges regarding Intellectual Property rights. 

Intellectual property rights laws like copyright, trademark, etc. may be frequently violated and occasionally invoked to redress IPRs violations of the media and entertainment industry in India. 

Types of IPR

  • Patent: A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted to an inventor by a sovereign state for a limited time period in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. Example. Light bulb
  • Copyright: It is a legal right that grants the creator of original works exclusive rights for its use and distribution. Example. text, images, sounds, movies 
  • Trademark: It is a recognizable sign or a design which identifies products of a particular source from those of others. 

Example. Nike symbol which all could easily recognize and identify is a type of trademark.

  • Trade Secret: It is a formula practice, design, commercial method, or compilation of information that is not generally known to others and by which businesses can obtain an economic advantage over competitors. 

Examples of trade secrets include recipes for certain foods and beverages, new inventions, and even marketing strategies. 

  • Geographical Indication: The use of geographical indication may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin. 

Examples of Geographical Indications are Basmati Rice, Feni 

Technological Challenges 

For instance, the issues pertaining to the digital preservation of entertainment industry products may assume significance in the future. Dispute resolution in the media and entertainment industry is of paramount importance in India. 

With the growth of the media and entertainment industry in India, there are also increasing cases of disputes as well dispute prevention and resolution in the film and media industry of India is still evolving. 

Regulation of Content 

Freedom of speech and expression is the bedrock of democracy.

Article 19{1} of the Indian Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. 

Article [2] establishes equal restrictions on the exercise of that right where it is essential for the security of the state. The state must exercise caution in enforcing restrictions and the burden of proof is always on the authority to justify the restrictions imposed.

All legislation regulating content has its origins in the constitution.

Paid News 

Paid News is the unethical media law practice where articles published under print and electronic media are in the favor of the institutions that have paid for it.

  • It is considered an advertisement without a tag. 
  • It is malpractice since it tends to deceive the citizens by not letting them know the actual facts of the case. 

Cross-media ownership

A situation in which a single corporate entity owns numerous types of media enterprises.

In our country, a monopoly in the sector of media ownership has had a severe impact on the quality of media freedom. This monopoly has not been scrutinized by the public and is also unregulated. 

Another issue is that this monopoly is the concentration of power in a single media entity in a given zone. 

Positive Influence of media and entertainment 

  • Education: It helps us to know the culture of people and helps the students to get the best solutions making education convenient for them. In fact, the media makes it interesting for students to understand the concepts. Media helps the students to build a set of skills making it easy for them to compete in the market. All information is gathered in one place making it insightful and easy to understand. One can create blogs for discussion, can post facts related to the content one prefers, can stream live lectures, and host discussions. 
  • Rejuvenation: A new study has found that social networks could be an important communication channel for some individuals who would have otherwise stayed isolated. When people feel sad, they have a need to reach out to others and help in reducing the negative emotions and a sense of well-being
  • Development: Media lets people place their opinions on governance and reforms. Media helps us to communicate. Without communication, no society can exist. Media helps the government to know the opinions of the general public through media helping them to govern better. This helps the people to know technology and new solutions to their challenges and ensure productivity
  • Awareness: Newspapers serve us information all around the world. It makes us aware of all socio-political and socio-cultural happenings across the globe. It makes us aware of predictions, current statistics, forecasts, and risks associated with natural and man-made hazards.

Regulations for the government-owned media 

  • Government-owned media such as All India Radio, Doordarshan, and the Press Information Bureau plays a critical role because the issues they handle are not widely covered by commercial media. 
  • As compared to private media, there are concerns about the quality of such government media.
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting organized an Expert Committee in January 2013 to assess Prasar Bharti’s institutional framework. On January 24, 2014, the Expert Committee submitted its report, which included proposals for making Prasar Bharti administratively and financially independent of the government. 

Rules, Regulations, and Amendments under Media and Entertainment industry

The media and Entertainment industry broadly consists of film, television, radio, and print. The regulatory body which governs the media and entertainment sector in India is embodied in the Cable Networks Act 1995 and Prasar Bharti Act 1990. The government bodies which regulate the sector includes the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Prasar Bharti. 

These are the structures that have the authority to issue guidelines, policies, and regulations and to grant licenses in order to broadcast in the media. 

These are Amendments in India under Media and Entertainment industry

  • Cable Television Networks Act, 1995
  • Cinematograph Act, 1952
  • Indian Telegraph Act, 1885
  • Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933
  • Press Council Act, 1978
  • Vernacular Press Act, 1878

Entertainment Media Law Services 

Many law services across the world provide entertainment media law services for the following categories:

  • Intellectual Property Matters, disputes, and litigations 
  • Real Estate and Corporate Issues 
  • Labour and Employment 
  • Contracts and Agreements 
  • Compliance under all government and regulatory authorities 
  • Advertisement and Publicity 
  • Broadcasting 
  • Corporate Finance 
  • Privacy 
  • Defamation and Contempt 
  • Confidentiality or Breach in it 
  • Taxation 
  • Insurance 
  • Negotiations, Mediations, and Litigations 
  • Establishment of Production House, Film Studio, or TV Channel 

How is Licensing Helpful?

Licensing enhances and reinforces existing brand equity. Licensed content is content produced by a professional publisher that can be legally licensed for use on your own website.

It ensures speed, low cost, high quality, and experience.

  • Speed: Licensed content is polished and ready to publish.
  • Low Cost:  A licensed article costs about 75% less than a similar custom piece commissioned from a third party.
  • High Quality: Content licensed from a well-known source is researched, well-planned, and edited by a team:  of content specialists. 
  • Experiential: Licensed content is experiential, designed by a publisher to build and engage an audience rather than actually selling a product. 

Do you ever wish to start an entertainment business in India?

To set up an entertainment business in India, follow these easy steps.

  • First, plan your business. 

Write up your proposal, do research on the target market and put together the financials. 

  • Secondly, form your legal entity. Submit your application to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and set up one of the following legal structures :
  1. Private Limited Company 
  2. Limited Liability Partnership
  3. One Person Company 
  • A Permanent Account Number {PAN} and Tax Deduction & Collection Account Number {TAN}, VAT, GST, and other applicable tax registrations.

Other approvals would be a Digital Signature Certificate {DSC} for proposed directors and shareholders, and a Digital Identification Number {DIN} for proposed directors.

  • Once your company has a proper legal structure, apply for a corporate bank account and business insurance. 
  • It is necessary to get licenses and permits from the Central Government as well as State from which your business operates. These include Entertainment License, Performance License, Public Performance, and Entertainment License. 

How can you make money out of your work?

One of the benefits of licensing is that people may be willing to pay you for use of your content.

The most direct way of seeking revenue is to reserve all rights with respect to the public. Over a period of time, you may seek exposure but also wish to commercialize your work, granting broad permission for others to use your work may curtail your ability to commercialize the same work in the future. 

If you want more control over your work an “all rights reserved” model combined with a selective licensing transaction would be the best route.  If you get your content licensed, the duration of time for which the grant lasts will depend on the license arrangement you enter into. 

Caution: Do not transfer all of your rights to someone else. If you do so, you may no longer exercise those rights. If you give someone an exclusive license, you are prohibited from exercising those rights. But if you grant a non-exclusive license to someone else, then you still have the freedom to exercise the rights and that does not affect your ability to work. 

The Growth of the Indian Media and Entertainment industry 

The Indian Media and Entertainment industry is a rising sector. According to a FICCI-EY report, the advertising to GDP ratio is expected to reach 0.4% by 2025 from 0.38% in 2019. Media penetration differs across socio-economic strata. Advertising revenues are vital for the growth of this industry. 

As per the Supreme Court, “The right to freedom of speech and expression includes right to educate, to inform and to entertain and also right to be educated, informed and entertained. 

Factors that are contributing to the high growth rate:

  • Films, television, and other segments are already open to foreign investment. 
  • FM Radio sector too was opened for foreign investment with 20% FDI being allowed. FM Radio has expanded by opening 338 licenses for private investment.
  • OTT Platform gives creative freedom allowing platforms to cater to the needs of the masses with films brought to the platform from all across the globe. OTTs do not have any special regulations in terms of foreign programs and Indian content. Several OTT platforms and operators like Hotstar, and Netflix are increasingly adopting self-regulation codes. It is a platform used by the masses.

Conclusion

We have discussed above “media and entertainment laws”, and all aspects related with it and also how licensing is helpful. For growing business, the awareness of licensing is also very important as it will give you an edge over other businesses in the market. Make sure you consult for licensing and there are all set to go in order to set up your own media and entertainment business. Hope you understand all the process and laws related to license. For more information, you can consult with our team.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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Author
Bhavya Ahuja
I have over 3 years of experience working as a content writer . Currently, I work as a content writer at Corpseed ITES Private Limited, where my job role is providing the best content in the field of lifestyle and entertainment . I'm deeply passionate about creating an impact in the industry with my skills and knowledge

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