Mumbai, Leading Bollywood studios such as Reliance Big Entertainment, Yash Raj Films, UTV Motion Pictures, Eros International and Studio 18 have joined hands here Thursday with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to set up an anti-piracy coalition.
Announced here on the last day of the FICCI Frames entertainment convention, the coalition will target all forms of piracy, both physical and online, affecting India.
According to the US India Business Council/Ernst & Young 2008 report on “The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry”, the Indian film industry lost around $959 million and 571,896 jobs due to piracy.
Consultancy firm KPMG has also placed the film piracy rate at around 60 percent here.
“Piracy is not a victimless crime. The RAND report on Film Piracy, Organised Crime and Terrorism has clearly demonstrated that film piracy funds terrorist activity. As such, states need to take this menace seriously and place film piracy offences under organised crime statutes like Maharashtra did in 2009,” Rajiv Dalal of the Motion Picture Association’s India office, said in a statement.
Harish Dayani of Moser Baer added: “The Indian film industry and ‘Brand Bollywood’ are far too important to be destroyed by criminals. There needs to be a strong legislative and enforcement response in tackling the issue of copyright theft. The enormity of the theft is perhaps not being understood and the current state of affairs of the film business is largely due to large scale consumption of pirated DVDs”.
Speaking on the damage caused by illegal camcording, Siddharth Roy Kapur of UTV said: “Nearly every Indian title is camcorded and available in pirate street markets on average two to three days after legitimate theatrical release. While the industry has come together to provide theatre security and anti-camcord training, our efforts will be futile without the government passing anti-camcord legislation to hold perpetrators liable for this form of copyright theft”.
MPAA chairman Dan Glickman was also pleased at the coalition for further collaborations.
“The last two years of Hindi co-productions, joint television ventures, shared distribution rights, joint ownership of technology companies has all led to Indian and MPA member studios working in tandem,” said Glickman.
“Such cooperation fosters conducive environments that allow movies like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘My Name is Khan’ to achieve global box office success. And as successful as we have been or can be, we need to come together to overcome common obstacles to our joint success.”
“That is why we are here today to announce the launch of this coalition. While piracy is damaging creative communities across the world, it need not be inevitable if we take steps to collectively address this problem,” Glickman added.
Also present at the meet were Yash Chopra from YRF, Sanjeev Lamba from Reliance, Ram Mirchandani from Eros, Sandeep Bhargava from Studio 18 and Hiren Gada from Shemaroo.
The Motion Picture Distributors Association (India) Pvt. Ltd. (MPDA) is a wholly owned local office of the Motion Picture Association, and represents the interests of the American motion picture industry in India. It works closely with local industry, government, law enforcement authorities and educational institutions to protect the film and television industry.