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Reel world takes Rs 160 bn hit from piracy, seeks stringent laws

MUMBAI: Stung by a loss of Rs 160 billion to piracy in 2008, the Indian entertainment industry needs to work out an effective legal system to combat the menace. In short, the ‘reel world‘ should meaningfully shake hands with law.

"We need to have more regulation of content and should create more stringent and effective laws to stop the infringement of intellectual property in TV and cinema. But this cannot be a unilateral affair. The industry, the government and the lawmakers need to mutually discuss and agree on this," said Ministry of Information & Broadcasting joint secretary (films), V B Pyarelal, while speaking here today at the third edition of ‘Reel World and the Law,‘ an annual seminar organised by CII.


The idea of the government working jointly with the stakeholders to create a common pool of resources was taken forward by Big Music vice president Sanjay Tandon. "Piracy is widespread through video, cable, internet and rentals. Effective Digital Rights Management is virtually impossible in today‘s world. We need a perfect sync between the reel world and the law in order to have a happy ending to all our stories," he said.


For making that happen, the industry has been ‘more barking‘ rather than putting in serious efforts. A common pool of capital is yet to be created. The different industry bodies also need to come under one umbrella.


Moser Baer COO G Dhananjayan has come up with another solution. "Though we make optical discs, I am of the view that the government should levy a tax of an optical disc by Rs 10 that would make piracy unviable. In return, the government can give some kind of relief to the film industry by reducing the entertainment tax. This measure will, on one hand, help in killing piracy while on the other will make cinema going less costly."



Saying that there was an increased complexity in the industry today due to the advent of more sophisticated technology, more segmentation and the coming of social media, Eros International Films executive director Biren Ghose said that there were wider avenues today for producers to raise capital - the industry having moved from traditional to institutional capital. There is also extensive regulation.


"But all this poses increased challenges for the industry. How does one protect intellectual property in an age of the internet and control content in television and films," Ghose asked.



However, AZB and Partners managing partner Zia Mody was of the view that the acid test for the government today was to strike a balance between zealous protection of the Copyright law and encouraging innovation and creativity.


"Ten years ago, there was an apathetic approach towards legal aspects of intellectual property rights. Today there is increased realization of value and monetization and IP infringement," she averred.

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