An initiative to address piracy was jointly launched at the FICCI Frames 2010 entertainment convention by Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Chairman Dan Glickman, and leading Hindi studio executives such as Yash Chopra (Yash Raj Films), Mukesh Bhatt (Vishesh Films), Sanjeev Lamba (Reliance Big Entertainment), Harish Dayani (Moser Baer), Siddharth Roy Kapur (UTV), Ram Mirchandani (Eros International), and Sandeep Bhargava (Studio 18). The newly formed coalition will target all forms of piracy both physical and online affecting India.
Speaking about the devastating effects of piracy, Harish Dayani of Moser Baer commented: “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.”
Producer Mukesh Bhatt further added: “Online copyright theft in India is growing rapidly. Two separate reports last year placed India in the top ten countries worldwide for P2P infringements. There is a community of Internet users who view piracy as an activity without consequence and who engage in piracy with ease within both domestic and international sites across a range of piracy methods. The government needs to sit down with rightsholders and find a solution to this menace.”
Rajiv Dalal of the Motion Picture Association’s India office noted: “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 offenses under organised crime statutes like Maharashtra did in 2009.”
Giving the keynote speech, MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman remarked that he was pleased to not only launch the coalition, but also to witness the formal alliance of the two most prominent film industries in the world. “These 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. 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.”