Cinematograph Film Hire Duty Bill

Bill No. 15/1966

Read the first time on 23rd February 1966.
An Act to regulate the business of the hiring and renting of cinematograph films and to provide for the imposition of a film-hire duty on the renting of such films and the control of charges of admission to a cinema theatre or other place where such films are exhibited and for matters incidental thereto.
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows: —
Short title and commencement
1.  This Act may be cited as the Cinematograph Film Hire Duty Act, 1966, and shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 9th day of August, 1965.
Interpretation
2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“acquire”, in relation to a renter, includes the importing, making or obtaining possession of films for the purpose of renting them;
“Chairman of the Board of Film Censors” means the Chairman of the Board of Film Censors appointed under subsection (1) of section 3 of the Cinematograph Films Ordinance (Cap. 213);
“charge for admission” means any payment, inclusive of entertainments duty leviable under the Entertainments Duty Ordinance (Cap. 161), charged by an exhibitor of films or by the proprietor of a cinema on a person admitted on such payment, as a spectator or one of the audience, to any place where films are exhibited, whether or not such films are exhibited together with any other entertainment;
“Comptroller” means the Comptroller of Customs and Excise appointed under subsection (1) of section 4 of the Customs Ordinance, 1960 (Ord. 44 of 1960);
“director”, in relation to any film, means the person to whom the producer has delegated responsibility for the arrangements directly connected with the organising, photographing, recording and assembling of the scenes depicted in the film, and with the interpretation and treatment of the scenario;
“exhibitor”, in relation to films, includes every person who exhibits any film or films to the public or to any section of the public including members of any film society, whether or not a charge is made for admission to the premises in which the exhibition is held, and “to exhibit” has a corresponding meaning;
“film” means a cinematograph picture film and includes any part of such film;
“hirer”, in relation to films, means a person who rents a film from a renter or registered renter;
“locally-made film” means a film which complies with all the following requirements: —
(a)it must have been made by a company incorporated in Singapore or by a person who was at the time the film was made a citizen of Singapore or by two or more persons each of whom was at that time a citizen of Singapore;
(b)either the producer or the director must have been a citizen of Singapore at the time when the film was made;
(c)not less than half the footage of completed film must have been photographed in Singapore or Malaysia; and
(d)not less than seventy-five per cent of the salaries, wages and payments specifically paid for labour and services in the making of the film (exclusive of payments in respect of copyright and of the salary and payments to one foreign actor or actress or director, but inclusive of the payments to the author of the scenario), has been paid to citizens of Singapore;
“producer”, in relation to any film, means the person by whom the overall organisation or financial arrangements, or both the overall organisation and financial arrangements, necessary for the production of the film are undertaken;
“proprietor” (in relation to any cinematograph entertainment) includes any person responsible for the management thereof and any person who holds a licence issued under any written law relating to public entertainments, and (in relation to any place from which, in the opinion of the Comptroller, a person would be able to be spectator or one of the audience of a cinematograph entertainment in progress in some other place) includes the owner, tenant or person in possession or control of such first mentioned place or any other person who receives payment for admission to such first mentioned place;
“registered renter”, in relation to films, means a renter registered in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
“renter”, in relation to films, means a person for the time being engaged in the business of renting films and includes an exhibitor who acquires any film for exhibition otherwise than through the agency of another registered renter;
“rent”, in relation to films, means to rent or otherwise issue films to exhibitors or any other persons at a rent or for other consideration, or to make other arrangements with exhibitors or any other persons for the exhibition thereof;
“senior officer of customs” means —
(a)the Comptroller;
(b)the Deputy Comptroller and any Assistant Comptroller of Customs and Excise appointed under the provisions of subsection (1) of section 4 of the Customs Ordinance, 1960 (Ord. 44 of 1960);
(c)any Senior Superintendent, Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent of Customs and Excise appointed under the provisions of subsection (4) of section 4 of the said Ordinance;
(d)any officer of customs vested with the powers of a senior officer of customs under the provisions of subsection (5) of section 4 of the said Ordinance;
(e)any police officer having the powers of a senior officer of customs by virtue of the provisions of section 8 of the said Ordinance;
“trailer” means a film or part of a film used for advertising purposes.
Appointment of officers
3.—(1)  The Comptroller shall have the superintendence of all matters relating to this Act, subject to the direction and control of the Minister.
(2)  The Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, appoint any public officer to exercise any or all of the powers conferred on the Comptroller by or under this Act, subject to the direction and control of the Minister.
Imposition of a film-hire duty on the renting of films
4.—(1)  Notwithstanding any tax, duty, fee or other charge leviable in connection with the import and censorship of films, or with the exhibition of films on which a charge is made for admission to such exhibition or with any other business relating to films under the provisions of any other written law, there shall be levied, collected and paid to the Comptroller, as from the 9th day of August, 1965, a film-hire duty in respect of the proceeds derived or deemed for the purposes of this Act to have been derived from the renting of films.
(2)  Film-hire duty shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions of section 9 and shall be payable in four instalments not later than one month after the last day of March, June, September and December in any year or after each period of thirteen weeks in any year.
(3)  It shall not be necessary for the Comptroller to make any demand for the payment of film-hire duty.
(4)  Without prejudice to any other remedy, on a failure of any renter of films to pay any film-hire duty when it is due, the Minister may deprive such renter of the right of renting films in Singapore, and if such renter is a registered renter may cause his registration to be cancelled, and in addition the Minister may recover any such film-hire duty payable as a civil debt due to the Government.
(5)  The Comptroller shall be responsible for the assessment and collection of film-hire duty and shall pay all amounts collected into the Consolidated Fund.
(6)  It shall be lawful for the Comptroller, if it is proved to his satisfaction that any money has been overpaid as film-hire duty under this Act, to order the refund of the money so overpaid:
Provided that no such refund shall be allowed unless a claim in respect thereof is made within one year after the overpayment was made.
(7)  Whenever for any reason any part of film-hire duty which ought to have been paid under this Act has been short paid or the whole or any part of such film-hire duty, after having been paid, has been owing to any cause erroneously refunded, the person liable to pay such film-hire duty or the person to whom such refund has erroneously been made, as the case may be, shall pay the deficiency or repay the amount paid to him in excess, on demand being made by the Comptroller within one year from the date on which such deficient film-hire duty was paid or the refund was made, as the case may be, without prejudice to any other remedy for the recovery of the amount due.
(8)  Notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law, the film-hire duty payable under this Act shall not be deducted as an outgoing or expense for the purpose of ascertaining the income of a person for the purposes of the Income Tax Ordinance (Cap. 166).
Registration of film renters
5.—(1)  Any person who desires to rent any film other than a locally-made film for exhibition shall apply to the Comptroller for registration as a registered renter.
(2)  The Comptroller shall refuse to register any person as a registered renter unless —
(a)the place of business of such person is in Singapore;
(b)he is liable to income tax under the Income Tax Ordinance; and
(c)he is registered under the provisions of the Business Names Ordinance (Cap. 171) or is incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 174).
(3)  Any person other than a registered renter who rents any film, not being a locally-made film, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars for every day on which such offence is committed in respect of one or more films.
(4)  Before he registers any person as a registered renter, the Comptroller may require such person to give such particulars as he may consider necessary for registration under subsection (1) and the Comptroller may at any time require such renter to lodge such security as he may consider to be appropriate for the payment of film-hire duty.
(5)  Any person who gives to the Comptroller any particulars which he knows or has reason to believe to be false shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.
(6)  Subject to the provisions of this section the Comptroller may, on receiving an application for registration, register the applicant as a registered renter or may register him provisionally for such period as may be specified by the Comptroller.
(7)  From the date of the coming into operation of this Act, no copy of any film, which has not prior to such date been authorised for exhibition, shall be approved for exhibition by the Chairman of the Board of Film Censors unless the person or firm renting such film is a registered renter.
(8)  It shall be lawful for the Minister to require the Chairman of the Board of Film Censors to remove any mark affixed under subsection (2) of section 10 of the Cinematograph Films Ordinance (Cap. 213) or any copy of any film which has been authorised for exhibition prior to the coming into operation of this Act and the Chairman shall notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law comply with such request from the Minister.
(9)  The Comptroller shall from time to time furnish the Chairman of the Board of Film Censors with lists of registered renters and he may require the Chairman of the Board of Film Censors to give him such information as he may require for the purposes of implementing the provisions of this Act.
Book to be kept by registered renter
6.—(1)  Every registered renter shall in the manner approved by the Comptroller keep a book or other record in which shall as soon as practicable be entered with respect to each film acquired by him the following particulars, namely: —
(a)the title of the film and the date when the film was acquired;
(b)the description of the film, including its total length;
(c)the place or places at which the film has been exhibited and the date or dates of exhibition at each such place;
(d)the rent or other consideration paid or agreed to be paid by any exhibitor in respect of such film or (where one charge is made in respect of two or more films without apportionment to the exhibitor) the amount of such charge, and the allocation of the amount of such charge among the several films made by the renter for the purposes of his business;
(e)such other particulars as may from time to time be prescribed by rules made under this Act.
(2)  Every book or record kept pursuant to this section shall be open at all reasonable times to inspection by a senior officer of customs who may, if he deems it necessary, detain such book in a customs office, for the purposes of carrying out further examination of such book or record.
(3)  Every registered renter who keeps the book or record referred to in subsection (1) shall on the date when he acquires any film or films immediately cause the relevant entry to be made in such book or record. Any registered renter who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars for every day on which such entry is not made by him in such book or record.
(4)  Any allocation made by a registered renter for the purposes of paragraph (d) of subsection (1), or any allocation of rents or other charges amongst any classes of films, or any allocation made by a registered renter who is also an exhibitor in accordance with section 10, may be reviewed by the Comptroller or a senior officer of customs acting in his direction and if the Comptroller or such officer has reason to believe or suspect that any such allocation is not a fair and proper one the Comptroller or such officer may amend it in such manner as is considered equitable. If the registered renter fails in any case to make any such allocation, the Comptroller or a senior officer of customs acting in his direction may make the allocation in such manner as he thinks proper.
Liability to film-hire duty
7.—(1)  Film-hire duty shall be payable by every registered renter and by every person who is required by section 5 to be a registered renter.
(2)  No person shall be relieved from liability to pay such film-hire duty in accordance with the provisions of this Act by reason of the fact that since the termination of any period he has ceased to carry on business as a renter.
(3)  Any reference in this Act to registered renters shall, for the purposes of the payment of duty, include persons who have failed to comply with the provisions of this Act requiring them to be registered renters.
Quarterly returns by registered renters
8.—(1)  For the purposes of this section, “quarter” means a period of three months ending with the last day of March, June, September and December in any year or a period of thirteen weeks in any year ending with a day approved by the Comptroller.
(2)  Every registered renter shall within the period of one month after each quarter furnish to the Comptroller a complete return of his gross receipts in connection with the renting of films for that quarter, together with such other particulars as may be prescribed or as may be required by the Comptroller.
(3)  Every registered renter shall within the period of one month after each quarter forward to the Comptroller a return listing the films which have been exhibited during that quarter.
(4)  Every registered renter who furnishes any information to the Comptroller which he knows or has reason to believe to be false shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to both such imprisonment and fine.
(5)  Any senior officer of customs may, for the purposes of verifying the accuracy of such returns, require a registered renter or his authorised agent to produce forthwith for his inspection any book of accounts, invoices or other documents relating to or concerned with the renting of films.
(6)  The Comptroller may, with the consent of the Minister, require any registered renter to produce for his inspection any contract made by such renter with any person in connection with the renting of films.
(7)  Any person who fails to furnish any such information as he is required to furnish under subsection (2) or fails to comply with any request of a senior officer of customs or the Comptroller under subsection (5) or (6) shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to both such imprisonment and fine.
Assessment for the purposes of the film-hire duty
9.—(1)  The film-hire duty payable by any renter shall be assessed on sixty per cent of the gross receipts derived or deemed, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, to have been derived by him from renting films.
(2)  Film-hire duty shall be levied in respect of films, other than locally-made films, at the rate of one-quarter of sixty per cent of such gross receipts.
Calculation of gross receipts for assessment
10.—(1)  For the purposes of this Act, in calculating the gross receipts derived or deemed to have been derived from the renting of films, the gross receipts from trailers shall be included but any receipts from the sale or hire of accessories, advertising materials, or other things used in connection with the distribution or exhibition of films shall be excluded.
(2)  For the purposes of this Act, every renter who is also an exhibitor shall, in respect of films acquired by him otherwise than through the agency of a registered renter, in his accounts allocate to each film a reasonable rental therefor, for every period in which such film is exhibited by him, and the total amount so allocated in respect of such films in any period, in addition to any amounts received by him from the business of renting films to other exhibitors, shall be deemed to be the gross receipts derived by him in that period from the business of renting films.
Minister may grant exemption
11.  The Minister may in his absolute discretion on application or otherwise exempt any person from all or any of the provisions of this Act.
Information to be given
12.—(1)  Any renter, registered renter or hirer of films to whom films are rented shall give such information as may be required of him by a senior officer of customs for the purposes of this Act.
(2)  Any such renter, registered renter or hirer who gives any false information or omits to give any information which it is in his power to give shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to both such imprisonment and fine.
Control over charges for admission
13.—(1)  After the date of the coming into operation of this Act, no exhibitor of films and no proprietor of a cinema theatre or any other place where films are exhibited shall increase the charges for admission without the prior approval in writing of the Minister.
(2)  Any exhibitor of films or proprietor of a cinema theatre or any other place where films are exhibited, who acts in contravention of subsection (1), shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars in respect of every day on which such offence is committed.
(3)  Any person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (2) may be deprived by the Minister of the right to exhibit films in Singapore and, if he is a registered renter, may have his registration cancelled.
Powers of entry, search, arrest, etc.
14.—(1)  Any senior officer of customs may enter any place where films are exhibited or the office of any renter or registered renter or hirer of films or any other place used in connection with the business of renting films and may make such investigations which he may deem necessary for the purposes of enforcing the provisions of this Act.
(2)  Any senior officer of customs may conduct a search of such place or office as is referred to in subsection (1) and may detain or seize any document which he reasonably believes to be required for the purposes of enforcing the provisions of this Act which he believes may contain evidence relating to any offence under the provisions of this Act.
(3)  (a)  Any person who obstructs any senior officer of customs in the course of his duties shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to both such imprisonment and fine.

(b)Any person who so obstructs any senior officer of customs in the course of his duties may be arrested without warrant and every person so arrested shall be taken to a police station or customs station or customs office and shall thereafter be dealt with as if he had been arrested under section 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 132).

Prosecution
15.  No prosecution in respect of any offence under this Act shall be instituted save by or under the direction of the Comptroller or the Public Prosecutor.
Who may prosecute
16.  Prosecutions in respect of offences committed under this Act or any rules made thereunder may be conducted by a senior officer of customs specifically authorised in that behalf by the Comptroller.
Protection of informers from discovery
17.—(1)  Except as hereinafter mentioned, no complaint as to an offence alleged to have been committed under this Act or any rules made thereunder shall be admitted in evidence in any civil or criminal proceedings whatsoever, and no witness shall be obliged or permitted to disclose the name or address of any informer, or state any matter which might lead to his discovery.
(2)  If any books, documents or papers which are in evidence or liable to inspection in any civil or criminal proceeding whatsoever contain any entry in which any informer is named or described, or which might lead to his discovery, the court before which the proceeding is held shall cause all such passages to be concealed from view or to be obliterated so far as is necessary to protect the informer from discovery, and no further.
(3)  If on the trial for any offence under this Act the court, after full inquiry into the case, believes that the informer wilfully made in his complaint a material statement which he knew or believed to be false or did not believe to be true, or if in any other proceeding the court is of opinion that justice cannot be fully done between the parties thereto without the discovery of the informer, the court may require the production of the original complaint, if in writing, and permit inquiry and require full disclosure concerning the informer.
Agents, clerks and servants
18.  The agent, clerk or servant of any renter or registered renter may transact business generally at any customs office on behalf of such renter or registered renter:
Provided that a senior officer of customs may refuse to transact business with such agent, clerk or servant unless such renter or registered renter identifies such agent, clerk or servant as empowered to transact such business and deposits with such officer a signed authority authorising such agent, clerk or servant to transact such business on behalf of such renter or registered renter.
Liability of renter or registered renter for acts of servants
19.  For the purposes of this Act or any rules made thereunder, every renter or registered renter shall be liable for every act, omission, neglect or default of any agent, clerk or servant employed by him and acting within the scope of his employment, as fully and as effectually as if such act, omission, neglect or default were done or committed by such renter or registered renter, but so that nothing in this section shall affect the liability of such agent, clerk or servant, and provided that the liability of such renter or registered renter shall not extend to imprisonment unless he is privy to the offence.
Appeal from decision of Comptroller
20.  Where it is provided in this Act that the decision on any matter rests with the Comptroller, then any person aggrieved by such decision may appeal therefrom to the Minister whose decision shall be final.
Forms
21.  For the purposes of implementing the provisions of this Act, the Comptroller may devise and use such forms as he may consider necessary.
Power to make rules
22.—(1)  The Minister may make rules prescribing anything that is to be prescribed and generally for carrying out the provisions of this Act, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers he may make rules —
(a)to secure the payment of the film-hire duty;
(b)to regulate the payment of such film-hire duty and to make provisions for the prevention of evasion of such film-hire duty;
(c)to regulate the powers and duties to be exercised and performed by any officer empowered to enforce the provisions of this Act;
(d)to regulate the procedure by which any person or firm may be registered as a registered renter.
(2)  Such rules may —
(a)prescribe that any act or omission in contravention of the provisions of any rule shall be an offence; and
(b)provide for the imposition of penalties, which shall not exceed imprisonment for a term of one year or a fine of one thousand dollars or a fine of one thousand dollars for every day in respect of which there is a contravention of any rule or a combination of two or more of such penalties.
(3)  All rules made under this section shall be published in the Gazette and shall be presented to Parliament as soon as may be after publication.
Cinematograph Film Hire Duty Act, 1965, to cease to apply
23.  The Cinematograph Film Hire Duty Act, 1965, of Malaysia and the Cinematograph Film Hire Duty Rules, 1965 (Act 45 of 1965), shall cease to apply to Singapore.