Indian Music Industry rolls initiative to combat mobile piracy

MUMBAI: Music Mobile Exchange (MMX), a division of The Indian Music Industry (IMI) launched the first of its kind in the world mobile licensing, in Andhra Pradesh.

This initiative has been launched to encash on the growing demand for music content on mobile chips. With this, mobile stores and other related shop keepers can become legitimate by opting for a MMX license from the right holders and sell music without violating the Copyright Act.

MMX currently consist of seven members namely Saregama, Aditya Music, Tips, Venus, EMI, Sony and Universal.

MMX licence can be taken for a period of one – three years at a cost, which ranges from Rs 1500 – 5000 per month / per computer depending on the kind of shop and location of the shop.

An independent survey conducted by IMI indicates that an average shopkeeper earns Rs 7500-12500 each month by music downloads and other music applications thus making the licence fee a reasonable amount and a profitable business for the shop owners.

IMI has registered more than 1000 cases against mobile chip piracy. If convicted punishment ranges from six month to three years and fines from Rs 50,000 to 200,000. According to IMI, the music industry of India losses more than Rs 300 crores each year, only by mobile chip piracy.

IMI secretary general Savio D’Souza said, "Mobile phones and chips are growing at a phenomenal pace and India should have the largest base of mobile phone users in the next few years. Each of these users requires music on their phones. The numbers of shopkeepers are currently offering these services illegally and making million of rupees. The 7 major members of the music Industry have offered a legitimate partnership opportunity for these shop keepers. We hope a number of shop keepers will partner with the Music Industry and obtain the license. In case these shop keepers do not obtain the licences, anti-piracy action will continue unabated."

The size of the music market on mobile phones is very big. The legitimate market at present is estimated to be Rs 300 crores that includes products like: Ring Tones – monophonic and polyphonic; True Tones; Ring back Tones; Full song mobile downloads, Music videos, etc.

With India currently having more than 400 million mobile subscribers and approximately 45-50% of the phone models in the market are capable of music transfers, music piracy has assumed a Mobile Chip Piracy avatar.