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2011 Copyright Bill on the Copyright Board

The 2011 version of the Copyright Bill proposes to make changes in Sections 11 and 12 of the Copyright Act, 1957, dealing with the Copyright Board. These are the changes which have been proposed:

11. Copyright Board.
(1)   As soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, the Central Government shall constitute a Board to be called the Copyright Board which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two or more than fourteen two other members.
(2)   The Chairman and other members of the Copyright Board shall hold office for such period and on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed.
The salaries and allowances payable to and the other terms and conditions of service of Chairman and other members of the Copyright Board shall be such as may be prescribed:
Provided that neither the salary and allowances nor other terms and conditions of service of the Chairman or any other member shall be varied to his disadvantage after appointment.
(3)   The Chairman of the Copyright Board shall be a person who is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court or is qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court.
(4)   The Registrar of Copyrights shall be the Secretary of the Copyright Board and shall perform such functions as may be prescribed.
The Central Government may, after consultation with the Chairman of the Copyrights Board, appoint a Secretary to the Copyright Board and such other officers and employees as may be considered necessary for the efficient discharge of the functions of the Board.
12. Powers and procedure of Copyright Board.
(1)   The Copyright Board shall, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, have power to regulate its own procedure, including the fixing of places and times of its sittings:
Provided that the Copyright Board shall ordinarily hear any proceeding instituted before it under this Act within the zone in which, at the time of the institution of the proceeding, the person instituting the proceeding actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain.
Explanation.- In this sub-section "zone" means a zone specified in section 15 of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.
(2)   The Copyright Board may exercise and discharge its powers and functions through Benches constituted by the Chairman of the Copyright Board from amongst its members, each Bench consisting of not less than three members.
        Provided that, if the Chairman is of opinion that any matter of importance is required to be heard by a larger bench, he may refer the matter to a special bench consisting of five members;
(3)   If there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Copyright Board or any Bench thereof in respect of any matter coming before it for decision under this Act, the opinion of the majority shall prevail:
Provided that where there is no such majority, the opinion of the Chairman shall prevail.
(4)   The Chairman may authorise any of its members to exercise any of the powers conferred on it by section 74 and any order made or act done in exercise of those powers by the member so authorised shall be deemed to be the order or act, as the case may be, of the Board.
(5)   No member of the Copyright Board shall take part in any proceedings before the Board in respect of any matter in which he has a personal interest.
(6)   No act done or proceeding taken by the Copyright Board under this Act shall be questioned on the ground merely of the existence of any vacancy in, or defect in the constitution of, the Board.
(7)   The Copyright Board shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of Sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and all proceedings before the Board shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.

(This post is by Nandita Saikia and was first published at Indian Copyright.)