Curbing online piracy in India is a long road ahead
MUMBAI: Although the Indian Music Industry(IMI) is striving hard to curb piracy from its roots, the market for online piracy seems to be at a constant rise with the ever growing population of the country.
Several initiatives undertaken by the IMI and the Global IPR Foundation in the past have helped combat online piracy to a large extent but with most of the portals based out of India, a serious global crackdown on the issue seems a dream. Speaking on the issue with Radioandmusic.com, Global IPR Foundation founder & chairman MM Satish says, “In the past few years there were a number of solutions provided by various people but nothing has been positively effective to provide a 100 per cent solution. Most of the portals that people are downloading from are based out of the country. I cannot impose our laws in those countries or bust up the piracy racket there.”
With newer advancements in the digital space, the modulators of piracy are receiving huge returns from the business unlike the physical piracy which was nipped in the bud before it could extend to the next level. “The people who are involved in piracy are very advanced and are ready to invest any amount of money into this business. According to the statistics, the pirate market is 60 per cent and 40 per cent is what the legitimate industry is paying. Furthermore they believe that in India none of the music companies are united. These are the loopholes and grey areas that the pirates are making the most of,” he reveals.
The youth have found free downloads as an easier way to get content even if it is illegal. But most of the people are of the opinion that advanced technology can be used in the right direction by creating anti-piracy professionals and appropriate research centre where these experts can track pirates in the country. Hiring professionals and disseminating them accordingly to work on the issue can help in finding a one-way out solution from the menace. Satish comments, “Our Indian Music Industry should have a proper research centre. And being in the industry from 14 years, I can easily say that the pirates are ahead of us by 1000 times. They are very advanced. They pay 10 times more money to youngsters and hackers to find out ways to increase piracy. That should be done by us. What is the IMI there for? They are doing nothing but internal politics and such in the name of IPR.”
Industry insiders believe that unity is the key to combat online piracy and provide an effective solution to it. But projecting the view that most of the anti-piracy meets in India and abroad have been aimless about the issue, Satish says, “I don’t understand why the FICCI keeps repeating the same thing. They have had the same agenda from past three years which is very shameful. They never offer any solution as compared to what they spoke in the previous year. I want someone to offer the solution so that we can move towards it, put a cost to it and work on it.”
With the launch of various initiatives like the ‘Track Piracy’ software and the ‘I Hate Fake’ campaign, the Global IPR Foundation is now trying to create awareness amongst the youth by visiting colleges and conducting more campaigns and activities amongst the students. The foundation has also created special ‘I Hate Fake’ t-shirts which will be widely distributed across 1500 retail stores in the country. Set to launch within this year, the campaign will witness rigorous promotional campaigns through hoardings, radio, bus panels and is also in talks with Cinemax. “We tell students don’t download, as every time you do that you are funding terrorism. The idea is not just to create awareness as they are rich kids. If they can afford to pay around 20 lakhs in colleges, they can definitely pay Rs 2000 for downloads. So instead we tell them that today the 26/11 or 9/11 attacks happened because of us. When the students were surprised, I told them that every time you buy anything pirated you are promoting piracy and funding terrorism. The day we stop promoting any kind of piracy, you will find Pakistani terrorists dying out of hunger,” he shares.
Also with the World Anti-Piracy awareness day approaching soon, the IPR has organized several seminars across various places to reach out with the cause globally. The seminars will feature people from different walks of life discussing the issues of terrorism that is connected to piracy worldwide and the different methods through which piracy can be curbed.
But with an ever increasing population in India, online piracy has found its base in the country and hackers are trying to rope in the internet savvy youth from various IT institutions and paying them handsomely for the work. Agreeing with the view Satish claimed, “It’s a proven fact that the greatest hackers come from India. So more than anything else, it’s a major threat. And if the RAW does not identify them, then the other people namely the pirates get hold of them and pay them for it.”
With a large number of downloads in music and content, India is the biggest online market in the world. With the advent of social networking sites, tracking every move of an individual is possible which is now beginning to work adversely for India as a major market in the business. “This is the reason why Kapil Sibal was persisting that we should stop facebook and youtube because he knows that it is the biggest threat. Before you have a technology in place, you should have plans ready to know how it will affect your country within the next 20 years. Unfortunately RAW acts only when it is asked to act,” he affirms.
But with the government working on an initiative to develop a national IPR policy and engage industry stakeholders in the process, the youth are also increasingly becoming aware of the issue through the various initiatives and campaigns. Moreover, with an advance in technology, companies are working towards offering cheaper content to the individuals make huge business profits.