Indian entertainment sector loses Rs 16,000 crores to piracy

MUMBAI: The Indian entertainment industry loses a whopping Rs 16,000 crores to piracy every year.

The US-India Business Council (USIBC) released a study showing huge job and revenue losses to the Indian economy as a result of piracy in India’s burgeoning entertainment industry.

The study – ‘The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry’ – prepared for USIBC by Ernst & Young India, shows as much as Rs 16,000 crores is lost each year due to piracy. As many as 800,000 direct jobs are also lost as a result of theft and piracy, afflicting India’s entertainment industry.

Speaking at FICCI FRAMES USIBC president Ron Somers said, "This study estimates that the Indian entertainment industry loses some 820,000 jobs and about $4 billion each year to piracy. This is an enormous and unacceptable magnitude of loss – by any measure."

The piracy study was commissioned as part of the USIBC-FICCI Bollywood-Hollywood Initiative. "This study covers film, music, television and video games and has been funded by the Global Intellectual Property Center of the US Chamber of Commerce, which aims to highlight the value of intellectual property, as well as illuminate the adverse impact theft and piracy have on creativity and innovation. The Bollywood-Hollywood Initiative promotes the sustainable growth and convergence underway between the entertainment industries in both our countries."

FICCI secretary general Dr. Amit Mitra said, "This study shows that the best way to make the boom in the Indian entertainment bigger is to stop the affliction of piracy. For the average Indian who wants to increase his or her chances for being employed in Bollywood and associated industries, fighting piracy is a place where all our collective efforts must start."

Mitra added, "The Media and Entertainment industry in India is an industry of the future. India’s entertainment industry already generates more than $11 billion annually for the country, growing at a combined annual rate of over 18 per cent. If we can stop piracy, these industries will grow even faster and employ more Indian workers."

Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy added, "I know first hand the importance of fighting piracy to support the growth of Bollywood. I commend the USIBC-FICCI Initiative for enlisting all elements of the entertainment industry against piracy."

Ernst & Young India national sector leader, media and entertainment Farokh T. Balsara said, "Our Mumbai office collected data for this study from on the ground – via direct interviews with stakeholders from the Bollywood entertainment industry. We looked at the industry from every angle – films, music, TV, radio, and electronic games. The story was the same across the board: if we can slow or stop piracy, a direct correlation in the generation of wealth and employment will be the result."

Somers added, "This study is only the beginning. Now that we have documented the job and revenue losses to the Indian entertainment industry from piracy, we intend to continue fighting piracy across the board. We will strive to bring these findings to the attention of the average person in India. We will attempt to enlist more effectively the US and Indian governments to cooperate in fighting the scourge of piracy in India, as well as in the US and worldwide. We strongly support passage by India of optical disc legislation that will thwart piracy in this important industry. We are pleased to stand shoulder to shoulder with counterparts in India to help protect jobs and revenues that are now being needlessly lost to piracy."

Also previewed at FICCI FRAMES as a part of the Bollywood-Hollywood Initiative was ‘Illicit – The Dark Trade’ – a special documentary that airs world-wide, produced by National Geographic for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center. This made-for-television documentary shows that the problem of piracy is an epidemic affecting many sectors of world-wide dimensions.