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time August 20 2014
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Home Knowledge Articles Supporting the use of original content “Programming content” – Pirated or Original? Copyright issues in Pakistan

Supporting the use of original content “Programming content” – Pirated or Original? Copyright issues in Pakistan


For the Pakistani idiot-box, the most workable entertaining programme options include dancing, singing and award shows. This kind of programming content attracts viewers and ultimately brings in more GRPs. However, one of the biggest debates remains the proper use of content. The piracy of original content is on the rise as many channels flaunt Bollywood songs and dances to the hilt without blinking an eye. Similarly, the piracy issue exists on using Bollywood songs and dances in concerts or shows at corporate and public events. The reason why most of the content is pirated is basically lack of awareness on the part of organisers or simply sheer negligence as no effort is made to avoid piracy.

In view of this scenario, the question arises, is there any regulatory body within Pakistan that keeps an eye on them and one who can take strict actions?

Supporting the use of original content; PAS here talks with Media Concepts – just three year old entity formed to bring piracy to a standstill and ensure copyright content is used. The company strives to get the entire industry back to its core values.

The details follow:

What is copyright?

When a person creates a literary, musical, scientific or artistic work, he or she is the owner of that work and is free to decide on its use. That person called the “creator” or the “author” or “owner of rights” has the right to market, sell or shelf the work. As per the law, the work is protected and has the copyright laws, hence nobody has the right to copy it without taking prior permission from the original creator of the work.

The economic rights are the rights of reproduction, broadcasting, public performance, adaptation, translation, public recitation, public display, distribution and so on. The moral rights include the author’s right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of his work that might be prejudicial to his honor or reputation. Both sets of rights belong to the creator who can exercise them. The exercise of the above two rights means that he can use the work himself, give permission to someone else to use his work or can deny the right to anyone to use his work.

In general, the copyright protected works cannot be used without the authorization of the owner of the rights. The term of protection is the creator’s lifetime and the minimum of 50 years after his death.

The Monitoring Policies:

The T-series music content, be it audio or video is used by every medium. With tracking companies on board, Media Concepts get daily monitoring reports of all electronic mediums to keep up-to-date In case of public performances/commercial events which are about to take place in advance and also those which have already taken place, the reliance is mostly on market intelligence. The monitoring is then used to generate analysis of the usage of our data and scrutiny of illegal content used by any entity.

The existing copyright infringement and piracy rule in Pakistan regarding Bollywood Cinema content?

Copyright is the right given by law to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and a variety of other works of mind. It ordinarily means the creator alone has the right to make copies of his or her works or alternatively, prevents all others from making such copies. The basic idea behind such protection is the premise that innovations require incentives.
In order to combat piracy Pakistan has amended its Copyright Ordinance, 1962. The legislative intent was twofold namely, to extend the scope of protection to new forms of copyright material and to ensure stringent enforcement of copyright. Major changes in the copyright legislation were made in the area of enforcement of copyright by the copyright (amendment) Act, 1992. Section 66 has been amended in order to enhance the punishment for infringement of copyright to imprisonment which may extend to 3 years and/or a fine which may extend to Rs. 100,000/- and in the case of a second conviction section 70(b) stipulates the fine may extend to Rs. 20,000,000.

Support of Piracy in sense of advertising on Piracy and Buying of pirated content Is also a punishable offence.

Measures in place to ensure decline of copyright infringement in Pakistan:

It is definitely an uphill task as tracking the process of music piracy is quite difficult. One doesn’t know how the music industry is being exploited through piracy, be it counterfeiting, illegal downloading or pirate recording. Those involved in music piracy range from owners of big recording facilities to small shops with a single music system. Media Concepts work in 3 phases.

· Ensure that the market is aware of copyright trademark and its impact on the economy. Of course not just the channels and people selling content but also the general buyers who should simply say no to pirated content.

· Notify people who are violating legal content intentionally/unintentionally and if the need be, proceed with case to the court.

· Reveal the wrongdoers and bring them in the lime light to create general awareness so industry can play its role in being a responsible citizen. This also serves as reference cases to put a stop to this unlawful practice.

Regulatory bodies in place:

IPO-Pakistan (Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan) is a regulatory body that works in the similar manner. In addition to this, recently another entity has started working in this direction as Collective Organisation for Music (Rights) in Pakistan (COMP). It has been set up to collect/distribute performing and related rights and royalties on behalf of the stakeholders.

This initiative has the support of IPO- Pakistan, WIPO, CISAC and almost all the music right owners – composers, authors and publishers.

How would a normal advertiser/brand know about the existing law?

The advertising industry was not aware of the copyright laws regarding use of Bollywood music. Media Concept has struggled to create awareness and now all the big advertisers, advertising agencies and media Channels are aware of the copyright laws in place, however instances of violation occur quite frequently. Everyone knows that Piracy is a crime and supporting piracy is also a crime in every manner.

The percentage of entities that are in breach of the law:

Majority are in breach and violating copyrights law due to either not being aware or being ignorant. Unfortunately, they deny and continue using illegal content for their purpose of interest.

The regular procedure to penalize the advertisers who are infringing the copyright law:

Step one: Inform the advertiser that an infringement has occurred and ask if they have the rights to publish such content.

Step two: If rights are not acquired, they are required to purchase the license for the content

Step three: In case of unwillingness to pay, court of la
w is approached and legal notice is issued to the concerned party.

End Note:

Pakistan Advertisers Society strongly discourages the use of pirated content and strongly recommends to all its members and the industry in general to use licensed content in their advertising campaigns and events. Going a step further in the spirit of corporate social responsibility, PAS also endorses its members to be vigilant and place their advertisements only on licensed content.

PAS has always been on the forefront to create awareness regarding “Advertising on illegal content”and has contributed significantly in establishing “best practices” in the business of advertising.

Pakistan Advertisers Society