Eying revenues from new revenue streams like the Internet, mobile and with the advent of multipleses, FICCI and Bollywood production companies are pushing to get the copyright of films extended to 95 years, reports TOI. The copyright of films, like in case of textual works, lasts for 60 years. Films from the 1930s and 1940s are already out of copyright, and the producers obviously feel that they’ll progressively lose out on new media revenue as the copyright of more and more films expires.
As it is, content producers are giving their content to innumerable websites, usually for an advertising revenue share. One of our readers, Mobstir, said it best: Content online is like Coke: “the consumer can buy it anywhere, but the retailer (portals) can only buy it from Coke.” With the expiration of copyright, anyone can get access to the video content, and retail it. I think the extension of copyright will also prevent the creation of a public repositary of video content that is out of copyright — like Project Gutenberg for books. Also, when new media revenues gain in significance in India, other stakeholders will start demanding their dues; Maybe, a few years from now, we’ll have a writers strike in India as well. In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for updates on this — it’s significant for content owners.