USIBC expects growth of $5+ billion if piracy is suppressed

MUMBAI: The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) expects a growth of over $5 billion a year in the media and entertainment industry if piracy is suppressed. USIBC has also said that 2009 will usher in a new spirit of cooperation between the U.S. and India in media and entertainment.

Speaking at the 10th Anniversary of the FICCI FRAMES Conference, USIBC director Policy Advocacy Michael DiPaula-Coyle said, "Nowhere is the new spirit of cooperation between our two countries more apparent than in the field of media and entertainment. These industries serve as important cultural ambassadors, spreading the spirit of our two countries abroad while providing employment and good wages for millions."

According to the USIBC, "the best is yet to come" if the U.S. and India work together to address challenges and create new economic opportunities. This means protecting intellectual property and creativity, tearing down barriers to trade and investment, and creating a business environment that fosters international collaboration.

At the FICCI FRAMES Conference, USIBC laid out an agenda to further strengthen U.S.-India media and entertainment growth:

Co-operation in production, regulation, and taxation: USIBC believes that U.S.-India co-production and other forms of cooperation in media and entertainment should increase to $1.5 billion per year for the next three years. However, both countries face serious tax and regulatory barriers to enable full U.S.-India cooperation. The uncertainty and inconsistency of Indian tax administration is a burden to U.S. and Indian businesses in media and entertainment. Tax issues related to transfer pricing, downlink policy and permanent establishment, limitations on foreign direct investment, and price controls in the television industry are all impediments to growth.

Co-operation in IPR and the Fight against Piracy: At this year’s FRAMES Conference, USIBC announced the launch of a new study that will capture what counterfeiting and piracy mean for an Indian filmmaker. "One Filmmaker’s Story: A Real-life Look at Counterfeiting and Piracy in India’s Entertainment Industry" will be used in a public information campaign against piracy.

Piracy is as much of a scourge to the industry when Indian films are counterfeited in the U.S. as when Hollywood films are pirated in India. The most immediate gains in the Indian media and entertainment industry revenues and employment can come from fighting intellectual-property piracy.

Last year with the participation of such Indian media and entertainment stalwarts as Yash Chopra, Amit Khanna, and Ramesh Sippy, USIBC released an Ernst and Young study showing that the Indian media and entertainment industry suffers 820,000 lost jobs and $4 billion in lost revenue each year to piracy and counterfeiting.

Cooperation in Technology and Convergence: U.S.-India cooperation in technology and convergence as they apply to the media and entertainment industry will bring about economic growth similar to that which has occurred in the field of information technology-assisted services.

The world class abilities of the Indian media and entertainment industry in animation, visual effects, and all areas involving computerization are well known and highly respected by the U.S. industry. The convergence of film, recorded music, television, radio, the Internet and the many other forms of telecommunication is the wave of the future and dovetails completely with Indian and U.S. capabilities.