On Saturday, Competition Commission Of India (CCI) gave a favourable judgement to corporate production houses like Reliance Entertainment, UTV Motion Pictures, Eros International and Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision against alleged unfair laws of various distribution association in India. Now, these associations will be filing an appeal at the Supreme Court against the ruling.
In its judgment, the CCI has instructed seven associations, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, Central Circuit Cine Association, Bihar and Jharkhand Motion Pictures Association to pay a penalty of 10 per cent of their annual income.
Besides, it has also ordered that associations can no longer compel anyone to become their member as a pre-condition for the exhibition of the film in territories under their control.
The associations can't discriminate between regional and non-regional movies and won't restrict the number of screens for any film.
The condition of compulsory registration of films as pre-condition for release of any film shall be dispensed with. And the associations will have no say on the release of home video or satellite exhibition of any film.
However, a Mumbai-based distributor on condition of anonymity said, "The main points that the corporate houses are objecting to, are only among the bylaws of the KFCC.
So the question of passing the judgment on all associations in India doesn't arise. It's fair to the other associations. The corporate houses have the right to go through the rules and regulations of various associations. But we have been given six weeks to file our appeal in the Supreme Court."
The legal dispute started after Rakesh Roshan's Kites, distributed by Reliance, was not allowed to play in 50-60 screens due to diktat of KFCC.
Later, other corporates like UTV and Eros were penalised Rs 4-5 lakh for not agreeing to the associations timeline for satellite screening and home video release of their films like Kurbaan and Housefull respectively, also joined in.
Sanjeev Lamba, CEO, Reliance Entertainnment said, "This order will pave the way for opening up business opportunities, increase revenues for filmmakers and remove extortionists once and for all."
Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures echoess, "The judgment unshackles the producers and distributors from the draconian and archaic bylaws of defunct associations driven by vested interests."