Anita Iyer    20 Jul 09 16:57 IST

MUMBAI: The new ordinance passed under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act by Maharashtra government has come as a sign of relief for the Bollywood and the music industry. Under the new resolution, piracy as an offence has been included under the stringent MPDA act last week.

This legislation, believes the industry, will help curb revenue losses incurred to the industry due to audio and video piracy. The police are now empowered to book people involved in piracy under the MPDA, wherein an offender can be detained and sent to jail for a period of one year.

Under the new ordinance, a pirate arrested for the first time will be charged under the Copyright act, which is punishable with a jail term between six months and three years and/or a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2,00,000. If the pirate is caught for second offence, he would be detained under the MPDA act. The act enables the police to hook the pirate without bail in jail for a minimum of 90 days.

Additionally, an anti-piracy cell is being created within the state government of Maharashtra to oversee enforcement related to the Act. The ordinance was signed by the governor SC Jamir.

Maharashtra is not the first state to pass such an act to tackle piracy; a similar law was passed in Tamil Nadu. The TN act passed in 2005 has detained many pirates under the Goonda act. But has that really helped in reducing piracy? IMI secretary general Savio D'Souza says, No. The number of raids in Tamil Nadu is going up by 1000 raids per year and so if the act was effective it should have shown results. Also Tamil Nadu is the only state where there is a separate police force to address the issue of piracy called the "video anti-piracy cell; even then they have not been able to control piracy with the Goonda Act."

Reacting on the new ordinance of MPDA, D'Souza says, It is going to be good act on paper but unless and until the industry comes forward and supports the police in implementing the act by support the police to conduct the raids and then providing copy right documentation, it cannot be effective. The industry has failed miserably in building systems to help law enforcement authorities point out the original copyright owners. The music industry is the



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