AACT acts hard to contain piracy

MUMBAI: With video, music and now online piracy growing to unprecedented proportions, the film industry has been taking severe beating week-after-week.

A study undertaken by the Motion Picture Distributors Association (MPDA) put India among the top ten countries in the world where piracy was the highest.

On the other hand a report `Economic Contribution of Indian Film and Television Industry‘ by PricewaterhouseCoopers said that the film industry was in fact significantly impacted by online piracy. In 2008, piracy cost the Indian film industry $959 million and about 571,000 jobs. 

For example, Vishal Bharadwaj‘s Kaminey was downloaded a record number of 350,000 times in India and abroad. The situation is equally bad for regional language films with 88 per cent of Telugu and 80 per cent of Tamil films being downloaded from the internet, the report noted.

To counter piracy, a joint initiative between the Hollywood and Bollywood studios took shape in March this year in the precincts of the FICCI Convention. It was later named Alliance Against Copyright Theft (AACT).

Reacting to the formation of the AACT, producer Mukesh Bhatt says, "I am very happy that some entity is doing something constructive instead of only talking. For so many years, we have heard people only talk about losses caused by losses but nobody took any corrective measures. It is a welcome sign that the industry has finally woken up and is doing something to control piracy rather than raise a hue and cry about it."

Initially, the AACT started conducting raids along with the social security wing of the Mumbai Police and A. A. Khan and Associates in the metropolis and suburbs and spread all over Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Just recently, the AACT launched its toll free number and sought the help of citizens of Mumbai to report any kind of piracy activity. This initiative has paid results and last month the AACT seized 500,000 pirated discs.

But still, several stalls selling pirated CDs and DVDs can be seen in various corners of the city. Avers, Shemaroo Entertainment director Hiren Gada, "The task to contain piracy is humongous and you cannot expect a result in a small period of time. I am happy to note that the AACT is doing something constructive and building some kind of infrastructure."

Details an AACT spokesperson, "We have undertaken to target all forms of piracy, both physical and online, affecting India. While hard goods (pirate DVD) enforcement will be a cornerstone to the coalition, AACT will also take steps to curb the growing Internet and camcord piracy problem in India."

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