A torrent of illegal activities

GROWING MENACE

A torrent of illegal activities

It is the era of downloading. Movies, music and software are downloaded the most with the help of torrents. 

Even though the owners of websites have come together to combat illegal downloads, they have failed to stop the menace as hackers and software developers have always created sites that can host illegal content. The government has introduced strong infringement policies to curb this menace. However, it’s all in vain. 

In a City like Bangalore where very few single screen theatres exist and multiplexes are becoming popular, movie buffs resort to illegal downloads to not just save money but also watch their favourite movie without any ads or breaks. Says a student who downloads and watches movies, “Watching movies in multiplexes is costly. We can’t afford to watch all the movies there. We can probably just watch one or two a month, that too on weekdays! The only way out is to download them on torrents.” However, for filmmakers who put in a lot of creativity, time and money in a movie, it’s a big loss when someone downloads their work. 

Says Saakshi Agarwal, an  actress, “Piracy is a crime and can have severe effects. Sales deplete and creative content does not get the boost and revenues it deserves. Even the most acclaimed movies in the world are not receiving enough income to recover the initial investment.” This is a worry that all filmmakers in the country have. She adds, “The people who are into piracy and are releasing movies before the set date will not have a free ride for long. There will be more stringent laws coming into place.”

“These days, we convert movies into 3GP files for our customers and put it on their phones for Rs 20 or 30. The people who come here are from the lower class of society and can’t afford to pay Rs 100-Rs 150 to watch movies. So even though this is illegal, it’s giving every individual the chance to watch a movie,” says the owner of a cyber cafe. He adds, “People come here these days to get movies in bulk for a less price. The idea of a cyber cafe has changed because everyone has smartphones with an internet access. So movies and songs are most sought after and people come in everyday to take the latest collection that we have downloaded.” 

In India, movies release on torrent sites one month before the actual day of release, causing a huge loss for the movie-makers and producers. “Development in technology means upgrading the laws that we have. However, privacy laws are not upgraded along with technology. Just like how we got a flat fee when radio became independent, there should be a fee every time someone downloads a film. This will keep things in balance and also work in favour of both the owners and the ones downloading information or movies,” says Sunil Abraham, executive director, Centre for Internet and Society. Though there are many organisations along with the crime branch that study and monitor illegal downloads, the issue is far from over. 

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