India and China film piracy mars industry


MUMBAI: Investor and industry portal for the digital media sector,, reports on the rampant problem of piracy in India and China and the impact this problem continues to have on local and foreign film industries.


Issues surrounding enforcement and awareness, restrictions on foreign films and a need for more effective technology, remain contributing factors to the growing piracy rates.  Movie piracy continues to be the thorn in the side of the Indian, Chinese and US film industries.


According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), India suffered industry losses of $180 million in 2005, the vast majority of which were to the local film industry. In China where the piracy rate is estimated at 93 per cent, meaning that there is virtually no legitimate market for filmed content, the losses from movie piracy are estimated at $2.7 billion. Despite the negative impact of piracy on India and China’s film industry, the problems continue to be fueled by challenged regulatory systems.

MPAA communications director Elizabeth Kaltman explains, “Lack of enforcement resources and attention are key to the piracy problem in India, as is the lack of any real deterrent sentencing from the judiciary. Unquestionably one of the foundations of China’s piracy problems is the lack of market access accorded to foreign films (non-Chinese films). China’s theatrical exhibition quota, frequent imposition of ‘blackouts’ on the theatrical release of foreign films, and restrictions placed on home video distributors, give movie pirates a tremendous market advantage.”

According to industry sources, while India has had significant problems in the past, it has started to organize its marketplace, in large part because entertainment, a sector recently given industry status by the government, is considered to be the second fastest growing industry next to Infrastructure in India. As a result, the government and industry have become quite cognizant and both law enforcement and judiciary are being actively used and involved in scuttling piracy. In India there is a growing emphasis on the need to create awareness and to educate the industry on the means and methodology of deterrence to further reduce piracy.  

In addition to increasing awareness and improving policies, technology has also become a key part of the piracy solution with efforts gearing up to develop and implement effective digital watermarking, filtering and digital rights management solutions. In the recently held US Chamber of Commerce 4th Annual Anti-Piracy and Counterfeiting Summit, the need for technology to dramatically reduce pirated and counterfeited products was emphasized by speakers such as NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. The event was also dominated by a call to the

US Federal Government for increased anti-piracy action.