MUMBAI: The Indian Music Industry (IMI) has been awarded record compensation in a case of copyright infringement under the concept of plea bargaining. This is unprecedented in the context of the Indian music industry with accused agreeing to compensate IMI with a sum of Rs 12 lakhs, which is the highest amount ever paid in the history of any plea bargaining case in India.
Plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case where by the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence.
Intellectual property infringement robs musicians of huge potential revenue sources. IMI since 1976 has been fighting piracy and firmly believes that Plea Bargain cases can really help the music industry and all IP industries in settling piracy related crimes. Piracy has been evolving and expanding its footprints in India.
According to IMI, physical format of piracy alone dents a loss of Rs 6 billion (Rs 600 crore) annually to Indian Music Industry. The industry is today witnessing newer formats of piracy such a mobile chip piracy, which roughly estimates a loss of another Rs 3 billion (Rs 300 crore). In total, a total of approximately Rs 20 billion (Rs 2000 crore) are lost by the industry to piracy each year.
IMI secretary general Savio D’Souza said, "We really welcome the decision of compensating Rs 12 lakhs to the music industry. With an understanding and supportive judiciary orders like this will help eradicate piracy while also reducing the clogging of cases in the court. Currently the IMI has more than 170000 cases pending in courts. The hallmark of this case is that such orders by the judiciary will ensure adequate compensation to the victims while reducing the pendency of cases in courts. Since the seizures were large (22500 CD) we expected a compensation of Rs 22.5 lakhs i.e. Rs 100 per CD but are happy with the order of Rs 12 lakhs as it is a very good precedent. This is a victory of IPR enforcement."