Last Updated : Feb 07, 2019 07:34 PM IST | Source:

In fight against piracy, music and film industry join hands with central govt

The punishment for film piracy offences is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or fine which may extend to Rs 10 lakh or both.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

With the approval of the Cabinet on Wednesday, the amended Cinematograph Act, 1952 brings an important weapon to the entertainment industry's fight against piracy. The amendment includes insertion of Section 6AA for prohibition of unauthorised recording.

According to the amendment, if anyone without the written authorization of the author, uses any audio visual recording device to make a transit or attempt to make a transit or abet the making or transmission of a copy is liable for punishment.

The punishment for film piracy is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or fine which may extend to Rs 10 lakh or both.

In this fight against piracy, the government is not alone. The music and film industries are also taking strong measures to deal with this issue.

The two industries along with advertisers are coming together to form a voluntary code and will not advertise on websites that host infringing content. The move is aimed at cutting revenue source of such websites.

Large-scale piracy websites generate significant revenues by placing digital ads on their websites. To put a stop to this, countries like the UK and Hong Kong have legal framework to keep a check on advertising on pirate websites.

However, when it comes to advertisements appearing on websites that host pirated content, the situation is complex. That is because many advertisers say they are not aware their ads appear on such websites since there are programmes that place ads according to relevance of content on the site.

In a 2017 report, Google claimed that it rejected more than 10 million ads that were suspected of copyright infringement. The company had said that pirate websites are commercial ventures and that one effective way to combat them is to cut off their money supply.

Last year, Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU) had suspended 29 pirate websites in two months.

The Digital Crime Unit (DCU) unit in India issues cease-and-desist orders to rogue websites. It then files complaints with advertisers to stop funding the sites. In the end, the unit reaches out to service providers and domain registrars to suspend services to the websites.

While the issue of piracy still remains one of the biggest concerns for the media and entertainment industry, the government is leaving no stone unturned to curb this menace. 

Not only Budget 2019 highlighted the piracy problem for the creative industry and sought solutions to deal with it, Indian government has been taking efforts to strengthen its cyber security.

In 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in the Budget that quick action teams will be set up to advance cyber security.

According to the film industry, anti-camcording provision can act as a deterrent to piracy. In fact, camcording in cinemas is one of the major sources of the leakage as over 90 percent of new release titles originate from cinemas, said an EY 2018 report.

Whether piracy can be eliminated entirely is questionable but the media and entertainment industry along with the government is pulling all stops on piracy.

However, there is one rogue website that seems to be undeterred with any action taken against them. TamilRockers in 2019 are continuing with their notoriety and have uploaded recent releases like Manikarnika: The Queen of JhansiVRV aka Vantha Rajavathaan Varuven among others. These films are openly available on the internet.

The menace of piracy haunts India as it affects the film industry with an annual loss of substantial revenues, to the tune of around Rs 18,000 crore every year accompanied by a loss of 60,000 jobs every year, according to 2017 KPMG report, titled Media for the masses: The Promise unfolds.
First Published on Feb 7, 2019 06:34 pm
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