Pirated, so what?

Pirated, so what?

In the absence of stringent laws and police action, the piracy industry continues to thrive

Most theatres preface their films with a short clip that discourages piracy, but the fact remains that the illegal copying of movies remains rampant in the City, causing a huge loss to the entertainment industry.

unconcerned Illegal CDs of movies are sold rampantly in the City. A survey conducted by the Motion Picture Distributors Association ranked India fourth when it came to piracy, with Bangalore contributing a huge share to this statistic.

Despite the fact that piracy is most definitely against the law, most Bangaloreans don’t think twice before picking up an illegal disc, or even easier, simply streaming a movie on to their computer. Metrolife attempts to find out why, otherwise law-abiding, citizens don’t feel that there’s any harm in indulging in piracy.

Vandana Vaidya, an advocate, believes that copyright legislation in this country has too many loopholes, and thus it’s easy to take advantage of it and churn out pirated movies. “A movie is the intellectual property of the person who produced it, but laws protecting these rights aren’t stringent in India. Proving copyright registration is anything but easy — one has to lodge an FIR and take the case to court,” she explains.

Interestingly, she mentions that the piracy industry in the City is quite scattered, making it tougher to actually punish offenders. “If we had people producing thousands of pirated discs and selling them in mass, the police could confiscate them and take action. But here, such people make very few copies and sell it on the sly. It’s tough to catch them in such a situation,” she elaborates.

Pirated discs aren’t the only culprit in this scenario; a much more prolific way of getting hold of pirated movies is to simply download them for free. Ayush, a student of NLS Bangalore, admits that this is a popular option for many. “It isn’t difficult to do this at all. Offhand, I can tell you which websites one would use to download a movie. However, it also depends on what kind of movie it is — if it’s a specifically good movie, one would prefer to go to the theatre, since the quality is better,” he explains.

He pegs poor enforcement of laws that protect copyrights as one of the main reasons why people indulge freely in piracy. “In the US, detection is much better — the government even cracks down on YouTube videos which have some copyrighted material. But here, enforcement of laws aren’t so stringent, so people can get away with it,” he observes. However, the situation isn’t as bleak as that. Yathindra, a design teacher, believes that Bangaloreans are getting more sensitised to the issue of piracy. “People have begun to realise that piracy is wrong. Four or five years back, people picked up pirated movies freely. Now, I think one would hesitate before doing so,” he maintains.

He also believes that the situation can be further curbed only when movie producers themselves step up and take some action against piracy.

 “If I lose my car, it’s my duty to report it, not the government’s. Similarly, it isn’t the government’s responsibility to report cases of piracy. The owners have to take a stand, and use the legal system to claim their rights,” he concludes.

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