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FICCI Frames ’17: Maharashtra to form IP crime unit to fight online piracy

MUMBAI: Well, well. The Indian media industry and the government are finally getting serious about content piracy. After Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU), Copyright Force and the government-mandated Copyright Board, Maharashtra state is all set to get Maharashtra Intellectual Property Crime Unit, which may be called MIPCU.

Announcing the go-ahead for MIPCU, a body that would be a joint endeavor of the entertainment industry and the state government, Inspector General of Maharashtra Police (Cyber) Brijesh Singh (in the picture) said, however, the initiative would have to be backed by the industry players too in terms of resources to effectively fight cyber crime and online piracy.

“I would want it to be set up under a public-private partnership model and want the industry to come forward and help me achieve this. I want the industry to come and tell me that this is what we need and we will then help them. There is a commitment from our side,” Singh said while delivering an address at FICCI Frames 2017 session themed `Decoding the Pirate Economy in Interconnected World: From Noise to Action.’

Though Singh, who was also slightly skeptical of the losses in terms of revenue that were often quoted by the entertainment industry, said that if the industry was serious, so were the law enforcement agencies. Pointing out that it’s often seen that the film industry’s piracy concerns were “limited” to the first seven days of a film’s release, he added, “I think this issue needs us to be more serious. I want the industry to come to us to build this sustainable and long-term partnership."

Motion Pictures Association of America’s Indian unit (MPA) and the Film and Television Producers Guild of India have joined hands to fight the menace of online piracy. After discussing the idea of MIPCU with the chief minister of Maharashtra and MPA last month, the state government formally okayed formation of a unit to fight cyber crimes, especially online piracy. Offline offences regarding this issue will be dealt by the regular police units.

The budget of this new proposed unit will depend on what kind of technology it plans to offer for a solution. The entire idea is to co-create a global facility, Singh later elaborated and added that the unit's launch was dependent on the industry's long-term commitment in terms of negotiating that space.

Commenting on the proposal to form MIPCU, Viacom18 group general counsel Sujeet Jain said the entertainment and TV industry would back any such move as long as results were delivered irrespective of structures and modalities.

Incidentally, some months back, as reported by indisntelevision.com, MPA, broadcasters and FICCI had joined hands to announce formation of Copyright Force to set agendas for effective safeguarding of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy and engage with the government.

To give an international perspective, TIPCU, Copyright Force and the proposed MIPCU have been seemingly inspired by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) of the UK , which is a specialist national police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.

PIPCU is operationally independent and launched in September 2013 with £2.56million funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the UK government until June 2015. It was announced in October 2014 that PIPCU will receive a further £3 million from the IPO to fund the unit up to 2017. The unit is dedicated to tackling serious and organised intellectual property crime (counterfeit and piracy) affecting physical and digital goods (with the exception of pharmaceutical goods) with a focus on offences committed using an online platform.

Also Read:

Online pirates beware, Copyright Force on way

Internet included in broadcasting for purpose of Copyright

Telangana leads fight against online piracy in partnership with film industry

FICCI keen on IPR awareness & enforcement to encourage innovation

Internet included in broadcasting for purpose of Copyright

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