Indian film industry joins hands with Hollywood to launch anti-piracy coalition

MUMBAI: The Indian film industry along with Hollywood studios have formed a coalition to fight movie piracy.

The coalition was led by the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) along with Indian studios like Yash Chopra (Yash Raj Films), Mukesh Bhatt (Vishesh Films), Siddharth Roy Kapur (UTV Motion Pictures), Sanjeev Lamba (BIG Pictures), Harish Dayani (Moser Baer), Ram Mirchandani (Eros International) and Sanjeev Bhargava (Indian Film Company/Studio 18).

The newly formed coalition will target all forms of piracy both physical and online affecting India.

According to the US India Business Council/Ernst & Young 2008 report on The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry, the Indian film industry lost $959 million and 571,896 jobs due to piracy. KPMG has also placed the film piracy rate at 60%.

Harish Dayani of Moser Baer said, “The Indian film industry and Brand Bollywood are far too important to be destroyed by criminals. There needs to be a strong legislative and enforcement response in tackling the issue of copyright theft. The enormity of the theft is perhaps not being understood and the current state of affairs of the film business is largely due to large scale consumption of pirated DVDs.”

Bhatt added: “Online copyright theft in India is growing rapidly. Two separate reports last year placed India in the top ten countries worldwide for P2P infringements. There is a community of Internet users who view piracy as an activity without consequence and who engage in piracy with ease within both domestic and international sites across a range of piracy methods. The government needs to sit down with rights holders and find a solution to this menace.”

Rajiv Dalal of the Motion Picture Association’s India office noted: “Piracy is not a victimless crime. The RAND report on Film Piracy, Organized Crime & Terrorism has clearly demonstrated that film piracy funds terrorist activity. As such, states need to take this menace seriously and place film piracy offenses under organized crime statutes like Maharashtra did in 2009.”

Roy Kapur stated: “Nearly every Indian title is camcorded and available in pirate street markets on average two to three days after legitimate theatrical release. While the industry has come together to provide theater security and anti-camcord trainings, our efforts will be futile without the government passing anti-camcord legislation to hold perpetrators liable for this form of copyright theft.”

MPAA chairman Dan Glickman said, “These last two years of Hindi co-productions, joint television ventures, shared distribution rights, joint ownership of technology companies – has all led to Indian and MPA member studios working in tandem. Such cooperation fosters conducive environments that allow movies like Slumdog Millionaire and My Name is Khan to achieve global box office success. And as successful as we have been or can be, we need to come together to overcome common obstacles to our joint success. That is why we are here today to announce the launch of this coalition. While piracy is damaging creative communities across the world, it need not be inevitable if we take steps to collectively address this problem.”