The state cabinet on Friday decided to issue an ordinance aimed at preventing audio and video piracy.
The West Bengal Prohibition of Audio and Video Piracy Ordinance 2013 will be notified as soon as it gets governor M.K. Narayanan’s nod.
Commerce and industries minister Partha Chatterjee said the government was thinking of enacting legislation to prevent audio and video piracy following a flurry of complaints about copyright violation.
“Both artists and investors had complained to the chief minister that piracy was eating up their income. The bill was ready but as the Assembly is not in session, the ordinance will have to be promulgated,” Chatterjee said at Writers’ Buildings after Friday’s cabinet meeting.
A minister said the government would treat piracy as a cognisable and non-bailable offence. The proposed ordinance would target those behind piracy rather than consumers of pirated material.
“According to the proposal, a person found guilty under the ordinance/act could be imprisoned for three to seven years. In addition, a fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh will be imposed on the guilty,” said the minister.
“We welcome the initiative as it has come at a time the music industry is suffering because of piracy. Music piracy should be treated as a major offence and those found guilty should be punished,” said Mohua Lahiri, the director of Asha Audio Company.
“Maharashtra has brought audio and video piracy under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act, which offers stringent action against the accused,” said a Writers’ official.
Another minister said Bengali film industry was presurring the government to issue the ordinance before the Pujas, when a number of films and music albums are released.
Fossils frontman Rupam Islam said: “If this can be implemented it will be revolutionary.... If piracy is prevented, maximum share of the profit will come to us artistes.”
Filmmaker Q said: “Piracy is a double-edged sword! For artistes, it’s a blockage for passing on information. For the film industry it becomes a logistical nightmare.... Moving to the first-world situation of the audience willing to pay for what they’re downloading would be ideal.”