Video piracy and its Impact on indian film industry
ByMr. Vivek Y. Dhupdale Code No. BR-01
Introduction Cinema has been the most popular entertainment source. People of all age groups, young and old, women and children, flocked to the cinema halls in very-increasing numbers. The Indian film industry was considered to be the largest and richest in the world, second only to that of Hollywood. But now all this has changed owing to competition- first from Black and White T.V, then from Color TV, last of all from Video Piracy.
Objectives of the Study Assessing the extent of video piracy prevailing in India in various segments of the Indian film industry namely cinematographic works. Assessing the impact of video piracy on copyright owner and the national economy. Evolving a phased programme for tackling the situation by improving the enforcement of the Copyright Act, 1957 as well as to promote scheme of awareness creation.
Methodology Data collection from the creators to the places of final use of films. Discussions with organisations such as registered copyright societies. Discussions with the copyright owners such as film, video producers, cable right holders and other experts. Questionnaires are developed for copyright enforcement authorities, right holders such as producers, distributors / sellers or end of copyrighted items. The sample size has decided by striking a balance between the numbers of players (eg. Manufacturers, suppliers) involved in the segment and the time and cost involved in conducting the field survey. Based on these, it is decided to interview about 50 copyright owners and 50 sellers.
Methodology Selecting sample endusers is a herculean task as the copyrighted film products are used in varying intensities by almost all the urban and rural households. Therefore, as a thumb rules it is decided to interview 150 endusers. Regarding selection of respondents, the procedure varied from stratified and purposive sampling depending upon the target group nature to ad-hoc selection based on the availability of respondents. Some international agencies like WIPO, are also being contacted to know the extent of video piracy and the methodologies adopted against video piracy at the international level.
Factors Responsible For Video Piracy Screening of pirated video films in hotels, clubs, video coached luxury buses and restaurants, etc. Video home recordings and mushrooming of video libraries. Growth of cable television. Banning of Films creates curiosity to watch the banned films hence raising demands for pirated films. Sharp drop in cinema-going audience due to the law and order situation as well as bombs and fire scare in theatres. Availability of pirated CDs/DVDs at a much cheaper rates than the original video films. Availability of internet downloading options.
Extent of Video Piracy Recently United States has placed India on its “Special 301” Priority Watch List1, along with 8 other countries, including China, Russia and Pakistan, etc. for failing to protect American movies, Computer Software and other copyrighted material from piracy. The US Trade Representative‟s Report which was released on 25th April 2008, says that the piracy and trademark counterfeiting remains a serious problem in India in a range of products that include pharmaceuticals and distilled spirits. Apart from the above mentioned nine listed countries, thirty-six other countries figure on a lower level watch list. This is a serious concern and India must act urgently to put in place a proper and stringent mechanism to combat Video/ software piracy and counterfeiting activities. The report says that the US continues to urge India to improve its IPR regime by providing stronger protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents.1. Source: S. Rajagopalan, ‘India on US watch list”, The New SundayExpress”, Belgaum ed., 27th April 2008.
Extent of Video Piracy Video piracy, which has increasingly resulted in revenue losses for the Indian film industry, became an alarming Rs 1,000-crore market in calender year 2008, rising more than 20% from 2007. As per a Northbridge Capital Asia report, the Indian film industry, which is currently pegged at Rs 14,400 crore, produces around 1,050 films every year but loses 14% of its revenue to video piracy. To check this illegal practice, big production houses like Yash Raj Films, UTV, Eros International, Shemaroo and Moser Baer joined hands, in December 2008, to invest a „significant amount‟ to fight video piracy . However, according to Savio Dsouza, general secretary, Indian Music industry (IMI), every year, an investment of Rs 20 crore is required to fight the menace. Meanwhile, analysts say that the sales of illegitimate DVDs rise approximately by up to 2% every year.2 2. Source: Priyanka Akhouri, ‘Video piracy in India now a Rs 1,000-cr menace’, available at: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/video-piracy-in-india-now-a- rs-1-000cr-menace/417806/
Conclusion and Suggestions The Indian film industry was considered to be the largest and richest in the world, second only to that of Hollywood. But now all this has changed owing to competition, first from Black and White T.V, then from Color TV, and last of all from Video Piracy. Well it is really tough to prevent piracy in this digital age. It is estimated that the Indian film industry is losing up to $180 million a year due to video piracy. Cinema halls over the country today are faced with dwindling audience and in many cases with closure. Nearly 1,000 cinemas halls out of 13,000 have closed down nationwide. This is due to people preferring to watch pirated movies at home instead. People prefer pirated DVDs for both reasons – one it is really cheap and two available easily at markets/railways stations etc. If remedial measures are not taken promptly thousands of people are likely to be thrown out of employment.
Suggestions: The films must be made in such a way that they are ineffectual on the small screens. The Government should scrap entertainment tax, for it is only supposed to be for the benefit of the industry. Only small theatres should be constructed keeping in view the diminishing size of the audience to cut down the cost of construction and make them economical and profitable. The release of Video-rights before a film completes 100 days in the theatre must be prohibited. The electricity and water charges in theatres may be reduced followed by a hike in admission rates, according to gradation of cinemas.
Suggestions: Video or camcorder Jammers must be installed to prevent recording of films in theaters. The mass-market price of DVDs should be lowered from $5 or $10 to $1 or $2, which would match prices charged by pirates. The price of these CDs/DVDs should be as cheap as possible. In fact these companies should tie up with small stores/shops to distribute and sell DVDs along with basic goods.
Suggestions: There must be a single release date used for the global distribution, (possibly through satellite transmission) instead of a staggered release. Companies having video rights should release DVD/CD of the movie along with the movie release to reduce the chance of any pirated activities. The authorities should impose licensing rules on Video- libraries, maintain a numbering system of CDs like seat tickets in theatres impose entertainment tax and declare every unauthorized CD as contraband. The local theater owners who run pirated prints should be located and prosecuted and punished. The film studios should go after Internet pirates by approaching the appropriate authorities with the help of suitable new technology. It is high time that the authorities wake up to the need for creating a healthy atmosphere for Hindi films.