Have you ever caught yourself humming Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya?
Those who grew up in India in the 70s will have fond memories
of Ek Anek Aur Ekta, the short educational animated film
released by Doordarshan's Film Division in 1974. Today,
it is hard to find a child in India who does not like 'Chotta
Bheem' (an animation character in a series presently being
telecast in India). Have you ever wondered how the 9 year old boy
named 'Bheem' does all that he does? Welcome to the world
of animation. Nothing is impossible in the magical world of
animation and visual effects (VXF). Animation and VFX are
used mainly in areas such as TV, films, advertisements, creation
& design of games for PC, Internet, handheld devices and gaming
The animation industry is often clubbed under the technology
sector but the truth is that in addition to technology, a larger
percentage falls under the creative industries. The major animation
hubs of India include Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and
Trivandrum. One of the challenges the Indian animation industry
faces is lack of proper training and education. With only two
government-run institutes that teach visual design, there is a
dearth of training schools in India. And neither offers a full
curriculum in animation.
Lack of a proper organized sector and adequate rules and
regulation is another major challenge faced by the Animation
industry in India. The industry comes under the purview of the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which is responsible for
formulation and administration of laws relating to media and
entertainment. The sector also has to adhere to the provisions laid
down under various laws including the Copyright Act, The Trademarks
Act. The Patents Act, Cinema Exhibitions Rules and Entertainment
and Tax Regulations.
In the process of promoting the industry and making it more
international, the Government of India has entered into a number of
co-production treaties with various international jurisdictions
such as UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Brazil and New
Zealand. The latest to join the list is Canada as of February 24,
The State of Karnataka introduced a policy for Animation, Visual
Effects, Gaming and Comics in 2012 in recognition of the potential
for this field to grow. The State government has announced that it
will extend financial support @ 75% of cost of fee payable to
Patent Office (up to a maximum of INR 1.25 lakh) and 50% of cost
towards attorney fee (up to a maximum of INR 75,000).
The State of Andhra Pradesh is not far behind. As per the Andhra
Pradesh Gaming, Animation, Media and Entertainment Policy 2014-19,
the Gaming City complex is to have an incubation centre called Game
Towers, which will have a state of the art "walk-to-work"
and "plug and play" built up office space which will be
rented at subsidised rates.
From a legal standpoint the ownership of intellectual property
in the animated work is of prime importance. Under the Indian
Copyright Act, the creator is generally the owner and author of the
work. 'Work for hire' is an exception to this general
rule, where the creator is the author and gets paid a fee for his
services while the ownership in the work vests with the company.
When entering into a contract with the production companies the
creator has to essentially look into the ownership of copyright. If
licensing is involved, the terms related to intellectual property
has to be clear and flawless.
In India images may qualify as trademarks. In addition,
names of animated characters and tag-lines may also be protected as
trademarks. This gives rise to an opportunity to exploit from
merchandising and licensing. Companies must have systems in place
to identify, protect and enforce all forms of intellectual property
in the works created.
Considering the major boom in the Indian animation industry, the
need of the hour is making it into a main stream and more organised
entertainment sector. This can be done by spreading awareness,
setting up of state of the art training schools and also making
more stringent laws and regulations to curb killer diseases like
piracy. Lenient taxation will help to avoid tax evasion and this in
turn will add to the industry's growth and revenue.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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