Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, your bell signals danger. I want to submit, that it is written in our 'Shastras':

"Swadhyayanam Pramadha."

Do not be careless towards your study. Nowadays the tendency of study is decreasing among our intellectuals, the renowned lecturers of universities and the thinkers day by day. Due to T. V. and other electronics media the number of the readers of the books has declined.

Therefore, the need of

981 Stat Res. re. disapproval of copyright (Amend.)

the hour is that the books of high standard may be made available at cheap rates to the common man as Gita Press Gorakhpur is doing. The ideas of the renowned poet, Ravindra Nath Tagore, who had tried hard to inspire the feelings of freedom, social, artistic, literary and cultural awareness and who had spread our honour throughout the coun- try and the world, may reach the common man. There should be some arrangements for publicity. With these words, I support this Copyright Bill.

But I demand that its period should be extended by 20 years so that it may not be misused for making money.

Prem Chandji had to live hand to mouth but today the publishers in his name art., rolling in wealth. It should not be so, The literary persons should got the benefit of their writings because they have the copyright. With these words, I conclude. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak.

[English]

SHRIMATI GEETA MUKHERJEE (Panskura): Hon. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thought of speaking in Bengali. Then I thought, since I am speaking on Rabindra Nath, I should speak in English so that everybody understands clearly,

First of all, I would like to explain why I was one of the persons who moved the statutory resolution. That is because of the ordinance. I feel that this problem was known. It was to come. It should have been studied much earlier. About the Act itself, now I am not opposing. But I am also dear about the criticisms which are there about Vishva Bharti's publications. I think, these should be gone into. At the same time, this is also true that there is a feeling that among various intellectuals in Bengal that monopoly should ----------------------------------------------------------------------- *English translation of the coblet originally recited in Bengali.

Ordinance and 982 right (Amend.) Bill

not be there. I think, Government will have to think over this thing much more seriously.

Rabindra Nath is not just a way of financing Vishwa Bharti.

Rabindra Nath is something more. Let me tell you that during this election, I declared in my constituency that from 25th Baisakh - Rabindra Nath's birthday - to 27th Baisak I shall not speak in my own language. Everything will be in Rabindra Nath's language. Be it a fight for communal harmony, be it a struggle for social justice, be it a struggle against exploitation and oppression of any kind, I tell you, I succeeded in getting all those from Rabindra Nath. Therefore, everyone in our country must have access to Rabindra Nath in different languages. This, of course. does not restrict itself only to Rabindra Nath. But there several other very important writers and poets. I need not name them because, there is not much time. Therefore, I think that even if this copyright is reviewed any time after this year, I think, Government will have to bear some responsibility all the time for popularising Rabindra Nath. If you say that you do not have, the resources, I will just recite a little couplet of Rabindra Nath and tell you what it is:

[Translation]

"Setting sun was glowing. He asked, "who will take up my work?" Then, the whole world was agog, speechless. They did not know what to do. There was a small lamp. That lamp rose and said, "Well, My Lord, I shall do whatever I can to take over your responsibility".

[English]

Therefore, whatever may be your financial constraints, you have to behave like this 'Maati Pradeep', that is, the little lamp of clay 983 Stat Res. re. disapproval of copyright (Amend.)

[Smt. Geeta Mukherjee]

who dared to take over the responsibility of setting sun.

So, this is my request to the Government to really always think about lending their hand so that this kind of poetry goes to all our people in all languages. With that, supporting Shrimati Malini Bhattacharya in all the things that she said without repeating here, I conclude.

SHRI KODIKKUNIL SURESH (Adoor): Sir, I rise to support this Copyright (Amendment) Bill. This Act is most helpful to the writers in our country. In India, a number of writer and others have presented valuable books in our country. But these books are not sufficiently available to the country. A very large number of people want to get books by prominent writers. But the problem is that the price is too high. May I request the hon. Minister to consider this problem as well ? My another request to the Government is to consider purchasing of foreign books. Valuable books and books for schools and colleges are not available in our libraries. The Government of India should take necessary steps to buy more books and send them to libraries in the rural areas especially. We must encourage people especially students and youths to read and refer those books. I am sure that they will got lot of benefits. Government should also help the writers and authors to write eminent books. The big problem which the authors and writers are facing is the problem of printing charge.

Government of India should give assistance to them to publish their books.

SHRI CHITA BASU (Barasat): I rise to congratulate the Minister of Human Resources for bringing about this Bill and of course, my colleague, Mrs. Geeta Mukherjee expressed her disapproval for bringing about or promulgating an ordinance. I think

Ordinance and 984 Copyright (Amend.) Bill

it is a wrong place criticism. As I know, it is because I belong to that delegation which wafted on him and convinced him about the necessity of extending the time for the copy right of Rabindranath Tagore's works. I do not know whether the Government of India could have done it earlier or not. That is a different thing. But I must say that the hon. Minister including the Prime Minister gave the support to extend the time for the copy right of Tagore's works.

Sir, I rise to support this Bill wholeheartedly. Tagore, the philosopher, the author, the composer, the educationist, the artist, the humanist, the advocate of universal brotherhood and harmony has brought eminent invaluable glories to our nation. We have been introduced to the world outside, our prestige has been enhanced in the comity of nations. His works have enriched tremendously our culture, our civilisation, arts and literacy. We are all proud of him and naturally, that is our keenest possible desire to preserve these treasures which Tagore hats left for us. It should be our vow not to allow anybody to distort, to defy, to defame these invaluable treasures. We should also take the vow that we must uphold the values that we have inherited from him. Sir, in order to do that, we strongly feel that we should all work in his direction with three specific objectives, namely, to bring about and project authentic Tagore and to bring about a complete Tagore. We should also see that Tagore's works are made available at cheap prices to the vast masses of our country. Of course, it is not only in the language of Bengali.

I have no doubt in my mind that everybody knows that many of our national problems that we face today was visualised by Tagore. He also indicated solutions to those national problems that we are facing even today. Therefore. it is not only the question of just one language. Naturally, I want that Tagore's works should be translated into all our vernacular languages and should be made available to the people of our country to

985 Stat. Res. re. dis- approval of copyright (Amend.)

achieve the objectives that I have mentioned.

Sir, there is no doubt that there is a move to commercialise the works of Tagore. That has prompted many of us and the Government of West Bengal also to see that the copyright is extended by some more years. It is now resting with the Vishwa Bharathi for some time more.

This is to see that this his works are riot commercialised and distorted and his works are projected in their totality. There are many commercial publishing companies who try to impress upon a section of the people that Vishwa Bharathi should not have the monopoly of publication of Tagore's works. I do not hold any brief for Vishwa Bharathi. As my predecessors have already pointed out, there are negative sides of the achievement and performance of Vishwa Bharati.

But at the same time, there are also positive achievements of the Vishwa Bharathi publiations. I am against commercialisation of Tagore's works. They should not be commercialised by any publication centre to earn profits.

We want to see complete Rabindranath. If his works are handed over to a commercial firm, they will publish only those which are best sellers, such as Sanchayata, 'Geeto Bithan, Gora, Sesher Kavitha, Geetanjali, Balaka, etc. But they may not be interested in publishing and popularising his some other works, such as Palli Prakriti, Manusher Dharma, Swadeshi Samaj, Aroop Ratan, Nataraj Ritu Rangashala, Beethika, Parisash and so on which are considered his best works, though they may not be best sellers. Herein lies the significance for asking for a complete Rabindranath, undistorted Rabindranath.

Sir, I do not like to take much of your time. So far as Vishwa Bharathi is concerned, I suggest that the copyright should not be left with the Vishwa Bharathi alone. A national board should be set up to aid and

Ordinance and 986 Copyright (Amend.) Bill

advise Vishwa Bharathi for the coming ten years at least and this national board may be formed with representatives from Vishwa Bharathi, National Book Trust, Sahitya Akademi, Bangla Akademi and other such organisations as the Government may think fit. It will be proper that the works of Rabindranath Tagore are not allowed to be cornmercailised on the one hand. On the other, this Board with the help of the Vishwa Bharathi can produce all the works of Tagore in a complete and undistorted manner and serve the cause of the nation. I support this Bill wholeheartedly.

[Translation]

SHRI GIRDHARI LAL BHARGAVA (Jaipur): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is nothing wrong in the Bill moved by the hon. Minister. My submission is that the copyright of Tagore's works should be extended, it was opposed by Satayajit Ray and Mrinal Sen. The main reason of opposing this Bill was only that the hon. Prime Minister Shri Narasimaha Rao Ji is the Chancellor of the Vishwa Bharti; but Shri Jyoti Basuji, Shri Ajit Panja ji and the hon. Arjun Singh ji have asserted that its period must be extended. My submission is that the contention of the Vishwa Bharti was that if the copy right period is over then every Tom, Dick and Harry and if the works of Tagore, the composer to our National Anthem "Jana-Gana-Mana, Adhinayak", were not published properly then it would a blow to the Indian cultue.

Ravindra Nath Tagore passed away in 1941 and the copyright of his works was coming to an end under the copyright laws of 1957. The right of publishing the works of Gurudev is with the Vishwa Bharti which is an institution established by the poet himself in Shanti Niketan. Then the Government thought, if the right of publication is given to a writer or the Vishwa Bharti then it will cause a great loss, therefore the Government extended the time limit in the case of a writer and its period was fixed between 50 to 60 years and the hon.

Minister

987 Stat Res. re. disapproval of copyright (Amend.)

[Sh. Girdhari Lal Bhargava]

has brought an amendment here that it should not be 60 but it should be 70 years and this amendment has moved by you. It is said in it that it will not be applicable on those cases whose copyright ended before 31st December, 1991. As per the provisions of Copyright Act, 1970 the right of any work will come to an end after expiry of a period of 50 years. My submission is that in case of writers, playwright the and Artists etc. it starts after their death, but in all the other cases it starts after the year of the publication. of the work.

My submission is that hon. Minister has brought a good Bill and there are no two opinions about it but it would be much better if he includes some suggestions also given by the people. In this Bill time has been extended by ten years that is from 60 to 70 years. Now the ordinance has automatically become uneffective I welcome the extension of time limit by the ten years but would like to request the hon.

Minister, who is also a learned person, a scholar of Hindi and is also our Education Minister to include in this Bill all the constructive suggestions made by the hon. Members.

[English]

SHRI RADHIKA RANJAN RRAMANIK (Mathurapur): Hon. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 1992 but with some reservations and with some hunable queries and also with one request.

Much has been said about the Bill and about Rabindra Nath Tagore, for whose works this Bill has come before this House. I will not repeat points that have already been made. I will confine my remarks to some new items and in a very few words.

In the. Statement of Objects and Reasons it is stated that: Ordinance and 988 Copyright (Amend.) Bill

"There had been numerous demands for according protection to his works in view of their national importance." He means Rabindranath Tagore. So, protection to Rabindranath Tagore's works. So, there are the works and the author, whose works are in question and the readers, the publishers and so many other par- ties are there who are connected with literary works. Whose interest is primary to the Government? Is it the interest of the works or the author or the copyright holder or the publishers or the reader? To me, it seems that the interest of the readers is to be the primary concern of the Government and perhaps we are all thinking about the interest of the readers. Readers will get the works, the authenticated works at reasonable price and not at the cost of quality.

So, it is stated that, review the whole question. What should be the appropriate term of copyright? What are our criteria for this appropriate terms? If it is only the extension of time, Whether the extension of time is appropriate or the reduction of the terms is the appropriate terms? If it is only a measure, that is the extension of the term is the appropriate terms, then the obvious corollary states that if the protection means the extension of the term, then for more protection, more extension, for more protection, more move extension and if you go on, there is no limit to it. Why fifty years and why not sixty years and so on ? What is the reason behind it? So, you are doing it in and ad hoc manner. What is the scientific reason? I want to know from the hon. Minister this. He is a man of learning. What are the criteria to determine this? Unless the object, that is the protection is not achieved within fifty years, then how can you assure that the protection can be achieved within ten years ? So, if it is not done in fifty years, then it can also not be done in ten years.

Then, again, the question of extension will come.

989 Stat. Res. re. dis- approval of copyright (Amend.)

I want to know the hon Minister whether he will assure the House that the protection will be achieved within the extended period?

Now, I would request the hon. Minister, through you, that he should come with a comprehensive Bill and not with this type of piecemeal amendment. It will not serve the purpose. Because, there are so many items. There is a piracy in computer software technology.

We, in India, at present, are at par with a advanced countries of the world in computer software technology. We can earn billions of dollars from Third World countries by exporting our computer software technology. There is a random piracy and this piracy is going on in software technology and also in audio and video cassettes.

So, I would request the hon. Minister to come forward with a comprehensive Bill, it possible, in this Session, so that, threadbare discussions can be held and various amendments can be brought in.

Lastly, I would thank the hon. Minister because he has brought this Bill in connection with the works of Rabindranath Tagore.

18.00 hrs.

So, for this reason, firstly, the Bill originated regarding the works of Rabindranath Tagore. So, I must support this Bill; I cannot go against this Bill. Secondly, the Minister has good intention.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS AND MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF LAW, JUSTICE AND COMPANY AFFAIRS (SHRI RANGARAJAN KUMARMANGALAM): There was a feeling among many Members that the 20TH March, Friday, should be a holiday. At the same time, we have a time constraint on seven Ordinances to be got through within a time limit.

copyright Ordinance and 990 Copyright (Amend.) Bill

Today, if we could sit for two hours, maybe we could finish three Ordinances on the list; and it would make it convenient for us to finish the other business tomorrow; and Friday could be a holiday. In the light of that, may I request that we sit for two house today? I will be obliged if the House agrees with it.

SHRI CHITTA BASU (Barasat): We may take up another Bill, not three Bills.

SHRI CHANDRA JEET YADAV (Azamgarh): As the Minister has made a proposal, we should take a decision on this. This is true an understanding was there. This is a fact that there is a general feeling amongst the members that if House opens on the 20th, they will come back and then again they will have to go because of Saturday and Sunday. So, it was thought that 20th should be a holiday. We also agree that we will help in passing all those Ordinances before the 27th March. This was the understanding. Last day you were saying and we said we will pass all the Bills; if necessary we will extend the time of the House.

I think if all the hon. Members agree, we have no objection; we can do that.

MR. SPEAKER: I think the House agrees with the proposal moved by the hon. Minister.


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