Indian film industry wants more awareness over film piracy

Ashish is a senior executive in the financial sector in the home of Bollywood, Mumbai.

He earns a good wage, lives in an upmarket neighbourhood and sees himself as a decent, law-abiding citizen.

But like many Indians, the 49-year-old sees nothing wrong with buying the latest Hindi-language and Hollywood films for just a fraction of their market value - or nothing at all.

"A guy used to come to my house and sell DVDs which each had about four or five films on them. I used to get them for just 150 to 200 rupees (three to four dollars)," Ashish, who asked for his real name not to be used, told AFP.

"Then I found out from friends that they were getting films for a third of the price, so I stopped. Now I just download them from the Internet. Why should I pay for them if they're available free of charge?"

The scale of the illicit trade in pirated films is a major cause for concern among leading figures in India's entertainment industry, who say black market copies are hitting revenues as the sector looks to recover from a slump.

They want to change the attitudes of Ashish and people like him, who flock to roadside stalls or markets across India to buy the latest releases at a knock-down price.

"Piracy is a reflection of society," Harish Dayani, the head of Moser Baer India Ltd's entertainment arm, told a conference on piracy and counterfeiting this week in Mumbai.

"It's seen as too small, a 'victimless crime'," he added, likening it to public attitudes to running a red traffic light in the middle of the night.

Dayani rejected the argument that low wages were fuelling the trade.

"India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Far East all behave in a similar manner, which is: we want it now and we don't want to pay," he said.

Some 600 million illegal DVDs are sold in India every year compared with just two million authentic ones from 2,000 legitimate dealers, Dayani said, without citing sources.

"Each DVD contains five films. We are talking about 30 million films which are entering Indian households. This has an impact on film revenue, DVD sales, the distributors and the whole retail network of the business," he added.

A 2008 US-India Business Council report said India's entertainment industry lost out on as much as four billion dollars of revenue and some 800,000 extra jobs to piracy and counterfeiting.

Hiren Gada, director of the DVD rental chain Shemaroo Entertainment, blamed piracy for below-par revenues in the home rental market, which accounts for only about five percent of India's 89.3-billion-rupee entertainment industry.

Sales are hit by the street vendors, illegal Internet download sites or some local cable television operators who beam copies of new cinema releases to tens of thousands of households, he said.

Experts say better enforcement of existing Indian copyright law is needed to prevent piracy, which is often linked to organised crime and extremist groups.

Studios and distributors have already taken matters into their own hands by setting up the Alliance Against Copyright Theft (AACT), a joint venture between Indian film companies and the US Motion Picture Association.

It has conducted more than 100 raids in the last six months in Mumbai and western Gujarat state.

Over 100 arrests have been made and up to 400,000 fake DVDs seized, said Prakash Nathan, vice-president operations at UTV Motion Pictures, which is part of the initiative.

AACT has also set up a confidential hotline for information about illegal DVD sales.

But Rajiv Dalal, head of the Motion Picture Dist. Association, the Indian subsidiary of the MPA, said greater public awareness was at the heart of the issue.

"Making sure that people know where the money that they're spending is going makes a lot of sense," he told the conference of intellectual property experts on Thursday.

"If you don't have education programmes and if awareness is not there, it's not very easy to achieve your goal. If children aren't sensitised that piracy is not a victimless crime, it's going to be very difficult to curb piracy."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor