January 2023

Entertainment and Media Sector

Sunil Gabhawalla | Rishabh Singhvi | Parth Shah
Chartered Accountants


Entertainment and Media, though generally referred to as one sector, actually represents two diverse sectors. While entertainment deals with content (films, television, etc.) creation and its’ exploitation, the media sector primarily deals with the delivery of the content. The advent of technology, especially social media, has further reduced the lines of demarcation between the two. In this article, we have attempted to discuss the specific issues faced by this sector. To do so, let us first understand the business model under which the sectors operate.


This sector has various sub-sectors, such as films, television, theatre, etc. The entire sector depends upon content for its survival, i.e., a film, television or play is successful only when the audience well receives the content. Therefore, the key activity in this sector is twofold, one being content creation and the second being content exploitation.

Content creation, an elaborate process, involves various activities, such as:

  • Identifying the idea/script based on which the content is to be created.

  • Pre-production activities (finalizing the cast, crew, location, etc., before the shooting occurs).

  • Production activities (actual shooting takes place).

  • Post-production activities (editing, dubbing, marketing and promotion, etc.).

The above activities result in the content coming into existence. However, the content per se may not be the product. Though a person may be in possession of the content, he may not be able to freely use the same. For example, a person purchases a movie CD and starts exhibiting it in a theatre. However, freely using it may not be allowed because the CD is sold to him with a specific use direction, and such a person does not have a right to use it otherwise. In other words, unless the person using the content has obtained the required license/rights from the content owner, he cannot use it for the intended use. This, inter alia, means that the product emanating from the content creation is not the content itself but the various rights which vest in the said product. The question that therefore remains is:

(a)    What are the different kind of works in which copyrights subsist?

(b)    What types of copyrights subsist in such works?

(c)    Whom do the said copyrights belong to?

The Copyrights Act, 1957 deals with copyrights and provides that the copyrights shall vest in different types of works, namely (a) original, artistic, literary or musical works, (b) sound recordings and (c) cinematographic films (which would include films, web-series, etc., and is referred to as “content” for the sake of brevity in this article). Generally, the first two classes o


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