Television

Film, cable industries deal to fight video piracy going nowhere

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If it works, it could well be the coup of the decade for the Indian film industry. In all likelihood, however, the deal between the cable ops, MSOs and film producers to check cable piracy will turn out to be another non starter.

2001 saw several developments on the piracy issue. The National Cable and Telecommunication Association met I&B minister Sushma Swaraj to apprise her of the issue in August, following which a committee was set up to look into the issue and a commitment made in early December. An MoU was signed between the parties concerned on 24 December, with cable ops pledging not to telecast new films on cable networks with the permission of the copyright holder. IMPPA, the premier body of motion picture producers in India spearheaded the move behind the MoU, 

Bigwig MSOs like In Cable, Win Cable and Siti Cable were party to the agreement. According to the terms of the agreement:

*No film should be aired without a licence from the copyright holder. 

*MSOs or franchisees or cable operators would respect the producers' wish that no film be shown on cable TV or a satellite channel for one year from the time of its release. 

*Defaulting cable ops would not be allowed to migrate to another MSO. 

*Film producers would create a secure website containing the names of films and relevant information about their copyright holders.

However, the fact that most new releases like Asoka, Abhay, Tere Liye and Gadar have already been shown on most of these networks proves that the agreement is mere lip service to the government. Unless penal action is taken, the menace that costs the film industry Rs 10,000 million annually is unlikely to be checked, industry sources aver.

The ball is now in the court of the police, who need to monitor and crack down hard on the offenders and check piracy. 

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