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Title: Actors and Accolades : Examining the Rights of Actors in Films in India from a Copyright Perspective
Other Titles: Indian Journal of Law and Justice, Vol. 13 No. 01, March 2022, pp 230 - 254
Authors: Gogoi, Jupi
Sebastian, Tania
Keywords: Cinematograph
Rights of Action in films
Performer’s Right
Indian legal framework
Issue Date: Mar-2022
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: Recognition and protection of cinematograph film under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 (hereinafter “The Act”) does not address the concerns of Actors. The practical collaboration in a film of producers, directors, scriptwriters, actors, music composers and others stands undermined in the case of actors. This is so as the current copyright regime in India emphasises only on the rights of producers and neglects the rights of others, specially actors. The inclusion of actors in the definition of performers does not confer rights related to copyright as these rights of copyright and related rights (including performers rights) are related but different. Though introduced in 1994, the rights of performers were limited in scope. With the intention of strengthening the Rights of Performers, Amendments were made in the Act in 2012. However, all the amendments were not applicable to the actors in films as they retained the earlier provision relating to performances in films, which stated “that once a performer (actor) has, by written agreement, consented to the incorporation of her performance in a cinematograph film she shall not, in the absence of any contract to the contrary, object to the enjoyment by the producer of the film of the performer’s right in the same film.” The rights of the actors were hence retained with and transferred to the producer. Solace is found in the proviso to section 38A (2) of The Act which states that “notwithstanding anything contained in this subsection, the performer shall be entitled for royalties in case of making of the performances for commercial use.” This is unexplored in the Indian Courts and thereby, the current provisions do not seem to offer much assistance to actors working in films. There are also the serious allegations of exploitation of actors, especially those who are not famous. As the largest movie industry in the world, performers in the Indian movie industry receive accolades the world over, however, they continue to work without adequate statutory protection. Limited scholarly work in this area has propelled the need to address all the concerns that actors of films in India face vis-à-vis copyright law in this paper. The paper will include comparative studies with the rights of actors of films in three jurisdictions, France, UK and USA. Accordingly, suggestions will be provided to strengthen the rights of actors of films in India.
ISSN: 0976-3570
Appears in Collections:Vol.13 No. 01 (March 2022)

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