Piracy, a serious threat to Indian film industry

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 19 2010, 05:35am hrs
The Indian film industry lost $959 million (Rs 4,411 crore) in revenue and around 5,71,896 jobs in 2008 thanks to piracy, according to a report released on Thursday by the US India Business Council and Ernst & Young. The report, The effects of counterfeiting and piracy on Indias entertainment industry, estimates the piracy rate at 60%.

Delivering the keynote speech at Ficci Frames 2010, Dan Glickman, chairman, Motion Picture Association of Amercia (MPA), said that two years of co-productions, joint television ventures, shared distribution rights and joint ownership of technology companies had resulted in greater co-operation between India and the MPA member studios.

Such co-operation fosters conducive environment which allows movies like Slumdog Millionaire and My Name is Khan achieve global box office success. As successful as we have been or can be, we need to come together to overcome common obstacles to our joint success. Though piracy is damaging creative communities across the world, it can be curbed if we take steps to collectively address this problem, said Glickman.

Harish Dayani of Moser Baer, said, Indian films are far too important to be destroyed by criminals. Strong legislative and enforcement responses are needed to tackle the issue of copyright theft. He further said that the enormity of the theft is perhaps not being understood and the current state of affairs in the film business is largely owing to large-scale consumption of pirated DVDs. The industry lost around Rs 2,000 crore last year due to piracy.

Filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt said online copyright theft in India is growing rapidly. Two separate reports last year placed India on the top ten countries worldwide for P-2-P infringements. A community of internet users views piracy as an activity without consequence, and is engaged in piracy with ease within both domestic and international sites. The government needs to sit down with stakeholders and find a solution.