MPA rolls out anti-piracy campaign in India

MUMBAI: In 2005, India lost $180 million in movie piracy. At a time like this, further to its Operation Tripod anti-piracy initiative in 13 countries across Asia Pacific, the Motion Picture Assocaition (MPA) has now stepped up on the same in India.

The organisation has launched an anti-piracy movie trailer aimed at making Indian moviegoers aware of the laws protecting copyright and at encouraging the public to reject pirated movies found online or on DVDs.

The Hindi ad will be aired in theatres across India. It will also be inserted into movie DVDs. MPA is also looking at localizing the ad into regional languages such as Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.

In India, companies like T-Series and Shemaroo Entertainment have also been active on the anti-piracy drive. While T-Series launched a music video on anti-piracy to generate awareness, Shemaroo has been conducting regular raids in Mumbai.

“India is a very important market for us because it is a huge industry. The industry does not realize that we have a captive audience in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where piracy thrives,” says MPA director of operations Asia Pacific Matthew T Cheetham.

The Indian Information and Broadcasting ministry is also working towards drafting the Optical Disc Law in order to curb movie piracy and protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). “We have an open relationship with the Government of India and are working closely with them on the Optical Disc Law. We have been regularly suggesting clauses to be included in the same,” informs Cheetham.

MPA is also very active in curbing internet piracy. MPA India director of operations Col. Anil Nayer says, “Curbing piracy on the internet is easier than curbing piracy on ground. Unlike popular perception that the web gives you anonymity; it is very easy to track down website owners. We have been able to shut down a lot of websites that offer pirated movies.”

In Delhi, MPA India has been able to reduce the number of outlets that sell pirated DVDs and VCDs from approximately 280 in 2004 to about 60 this year. “We have managed to bring down piracy in Palika Bazaar in Delhi to a large extent and our efforts are continuous,” says Nayer.

MPA India has a four pronged approach to curb piracy: (1) legislative work, (2) PR, (3) checks and balances on technology, and (4) raids.

Operation Tripod is being carried out in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Around five – six localized trailers have been made to generate awareness.

Operation Tripod targets the production, distribution, export and sale of pirated movies throughout the Asia Pacific region and across the world. While Operation Tripod’s crackdown on piracy is timed to run during the peak northern summer period, the MPA makes no distinction between piracy of local or foreign movies and has worked with enforcement agencies to protect sales of all cinema tickets, legitimate DVDs and VCDs in India and in Asia Pacific.