Anti-piracy drive not getting police support

Written by Sudipta Datta | Kolkata | Updated: Oct 28 2009, 06:37am hrs
The Indian Music Industry which launched its anti-piracy initiative, the Music Mobile Exchange (MMX), in West Bengal in September is frustrated at the slow pace of enforcement in the state. We have got zero support from the police, said Savio DSouza, IMI secretary-general.

Yet, the mobile chip piracy market in West Bengal is at least worth Rs 30-Rs 50 crore, the reason why IMI chose to launch the anti-piracy drive in four regions in the state, Siliguri, Kolkata, Hooghly and Howrah, in the first place. Saregama alone accounts for 60% of the Bengali non film music produced.

The MMX was launched in March in Andhra Pradesh and till date it has managed to sell licences to at least 1,500 outlets across AP, Punjab and to a very small extent in West Bengal . The next stops are the key markets of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

We will be in those two states by March and hope to cover all of India in the next 24 months, said DSouza.

According to the Indian Music Industry, the music industry loses at least Rs 300 crore each year to mobile chip piracy which includes ring tones, song mobile downloads, music videos and so forth. Through MMX, legitimate licences are issued to mobile stores and shopkeepers to enable them to sell music without violating the Copyright Act. It has seven members as of now: Saregama, Tips, Venus, EMI, Sony, Universal and Aditya Music because by and large these companies have the most copyrighted titles being pirated. Recently, in a copyright infringement case, an offender went in for plea bargaining, and agreed to compensate the music industry Rs 12 lakh for copyright piracy. Its the highest amount paid in a plea bargaining case in India , said DSouza.