Film body ropes in pvt players to check piracy

Written by Priyanka Akhouri | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 31 2009, 06:28am hrs
Anti piracy has again come to the fore for the Hindi film industry. The anti-piracy arm ICRA (Indian Cinema Rights Association) set up by some of the big companies in the industry, UTV Motion Pictures, Big Pictures and Moser Baer have stepped up its drive in Delhi and Mumbaithe hubs of film piracy.

To sharpen intelligence gathering, ICRA has roped in a Delhi-based consultancy called Assiduous, which has a network of people in places like Hyderabad and Mumbai. ICRA was set up about a month ago. Officials recently conducted raids in Maharashtra and Haryana, which resulted in seizure of close to 60,000 CDs and DVDs of various movies, including the recent releases Kaminey and Agyaat.

The anti-piracy efforts have reasons to be stepped up. A report published by US-based think tank RAND Corporation says video piracy worldwide is becoming a conduit for terrorism. For India therefore the implications are significant.

Sanjay Tandon, VP-publishing and licensing, Reliance Entertainment said, We need to combat the issue of piracy and thus the four companies together have created infrastructure in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. Last week, we carried out six raids in Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore and found around 25, 000- 35,000 pirated DVDs in the market. Looking at the growth in the number of pirates, we are also in talks with Yash Raj Films and Studio 18 to join hands in this drive.

Analysts say that the sales of illegitimate DVDs rise approximately by 2%-4% every year. The Indian film industry, which is currently pegged at Rs 14, 400-crore, produces around 1,050 films every year and loses14% of its revenue to video piracy. The industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6% over the next five years, reaching Rs 18,500 crore in 2013.

While the companies refused to disclose the investments involved, according to Savio Dsouza, general secretary, Indian Music Industry, every year an investment of Rs 20 crore is required for such anti-piracy acts. Annually, the revenue made by the pirates is somewhere around Rs 1,500 crore.

The current initiative comes about eight months after UTV ,Moser Baer, Eros International ,Yash Raj films and Shemaroo had come together to fight against a similar issue.The team was led by former ATS chief AA Khan. However it fell apart at that time the players involved had different approach to fight against the issue, which led Shemaroo to back out from this group.

Sanjay Tandon, Reliance Entertainment said,The film industry is definitely aware of piracy but is not doing much to combat this issue. With this initiative undertaken by the four players ,we need to create awareness about the loss involved in piracy. At ICRA, we are targeting to get the various industry players together to fight against this huge menace.

In Maharashtra, the raids this time were conducted under the Maharashtra Preventive Disruptive Act. The companies also met up with Arif Naseem Khan, minister of state, home & FDA to discuss ways to curb piracy.