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Star India joins global initiative to curb piracy

NEW DELHI: With the country losing around Rs 180 billion in revenue accompanied by a loss of 60,000 jobs every year because of film piracy, content producers and distribution platforms have been searching for various ways to fight this menace. As the FICCI-KPMG Report on Media and Entertainment said, movie piracy has over time shifted from CDs and DVDs to online platforms and the modus operandi involves use of sophisticated smartphones and camcorders to record films in theatres and then publish them on rogue websites.

Realising that this is a global menace, 30 leading content creators and on-demand entertainment companies from around the world have come together to protect the dynamic legal market for creative content and reducing online piracy.

The organizations launched a new global coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) for this purpose earlier this week.

The worldwide members of ACE are Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Constantin Film, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telemundo, Televisa, Twentieth Century Fox, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The legal marketplace for creative content has grown exponentially over the last few years, as film and television companies have invested heavily in digital distribution models. There are more than 480 online services worldwide available for consumers to watch films and television programs legally on demand.

This tremendous growth of creativity also drives the economy. In the United States alone, the creative sector adds over $1.2 trillion to the economy and supports more than 5.5 million direct jobs each year.

However, as more creative content moves online, piracy poses a continuing threat to creators, consumers, and the economy. Films and television shows can often be found on pirate sites within days – and in many cases hours – of release. Last year, there were an estimated 5.4 billion downloads of pirated wide release films and primetime television and VoD shows using peer-to-peer protocols worldwide. There were also an estimated 21.4 billion total visits to streaming piracy sites worldwide across both desktops and mobile devices in 2016.

Piracy also puts consumers at risk. One in three pirate sites target consumers with malware that can lead to a range of problems including identify theft and financial loss, according to a December 2015 report by Digital Citizens Alliance.

ACE hopes to expand ongoing, cooperative efforts to reduce the prevalence of online piracy. ACE will draw upon the global antipiracy resources of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in concert with the internal antipiracy expertise of the ACE coalition members.ACE will conduct research, work closely with law enforcement to curtail illegal pirate enterprises, file civil litigation, forge cooperative relationships with existing national content protection organizations, and pursue voluntary agreements with responsible parties across the internet ecosystem.

MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd said: “Global piracy is not just a concern for one studio or creator, it undermines the foundation of the entire global entertainment sector. Meeting the challenges ahead will require more voices, greater collaboration, new ideas, and increased resources. ACE, with its broad coalition of creators from around the world, is designed, specifically, to leverage the best possible resources to reduce piracy. For decades, the MPAA has been the gold standard for antipiracy enforcement. We are proud to provide the MPAA’s worldwide antipiracy resources and the deep expertise of our antipiracy unit to support ACE and all its initiatives.”

BBC Worldwide General Counsel Marlyn Freeman said: “BBC Worldwide invests in, commercializes, and showcases content from the BBC around the world and champions British creativity globally. It is the lifeblood of our business and we must ensure that we do all we can to secure and protect it from theft and illegal distribution. The ACE initiative is hugely important at a time when content consumption habits are rapidly shifting and methods of piracy are becoming more and more sophisticated.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment Senior EVP and General Counsel Leah Well said: “The theft and illegal distribution of copyrighted content impacts our business, the creative community, and the consumer viewing experience. As the landscape of the industry evolves, the range and threat of piracy expands with it. We look forward to working with our industry colleagues from around the globe to address this urgent issue.”

MGM Chief Legal Officer Lesley Freeman said : “As an industry, we collectively aim to maximize access to, and choices for, audiences to engage with our content. To be successful, we must also play an active role in raising awareness about the detrimental effects of online piracy, as it increasingly jeopardizes the rights of content creators and impedes the creation of the films and television programming that consumers want to watch. This partnership with ACE will allow us to combat the growing threat of online piracy and protect the work of those creators, while ensuring the highest level of safety and quality viewing experiences for our consumers worldwide.”

Netflix General Counsel David Hyman said: “While we’re focused on providing a great consumer experience that ultimately discourages piracy, there are still bad players around the world trying to profit off the hard work of others. By joining ACE, we will work together, share knowledge, and leverage the group’s combined anti-piracy resources to address the global online piracy problem.”

Sky Group COO Andrew Griffith saud: “Collaboration, through bodies such as ACE, is critical in tackling this issue because piracy is illegal, unreliable, and risky.”

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