Government takes several measures to curb video piracy

MUMBAI: The government has, over the years, taken several steps to curb video piracy.

State governments have been requested to reduce entertainment tax rates. On the pursuance and recommendation of SIMCON (State Information Ministers’ Conference), state governments have lowered entertainment tax rates consistently from peak rate of 70 per cent to 50 per cent over the years to help attract viewers to cinema theatres reducing the market for pirated videos.

Additionally, in order to provide an impetus to setting up of digital cinema theatres, import of digital cinema projects has been given the status of “Project Imports” thereby attracting the concessional customs duty of 7.5 per cent, which was further reduced to five per cent in 2008-09 budget.

Exemption from service tax has also been provided to digital cinema operators and distributors in relation to delivery of the content of the cinematograph film in digital form after encryption to cinema theatres for exhibition. The digital exhibition of films in cinema theatres helps in curbing production of pirated CDs/DVDs as the films are released simultaneously in smaller cities and towns.

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting had also constituted a Core Group to suggest measures to combat piracy of films. Action on the recommendations of the Core Group is being taken to curb piracy.

The Government in co-operation with copyright organizations and educational institutions organizes seminars and workshops in different parts of the country regularly to educate the people about copyright matters. Training programs are also organized for enforcement personnel like the police. A training module in English/Hindi has been prepared for senior police officers/other Enforcement Agencies on Piracy, which is circulated to the State Governments.

To create awareness on piracy, the Public Service Broadcasting Trust has produced a film, which has been shown on Doordarshan.

Apart from this, the Cable Television Network Regulation Act has been amended to prohibit a cable operator from transmitting or re-transmitting any program or channel for which the copyright holder has not granted him a license.

The Information and Broadcasting ministry has also requested the chief secretaries of all states to advise district magistrates and superintendents of Police to include anti-piracy measures in their monthly activity reports.

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