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Tackling piracy

Tackling piracy
Highlights

The T Town has lost almost Rs 100 crore in the last 450 days as more than 125 films, big and small, were uploaded on rogue sites within hours of their

Producers are now dependent upon private companies to track and eliminate online piracy. The industry seeks stringent laws on the lines of those in the US

The T Town has lost almost Rs 100 crore in the last 450 days as more than 125 films, big and small, were uploaded on rogue sites within hours of their release. It has sent shivers down the spine of 800-odd Telugu film -makers, who are clueless about tackling this menace. Setting up a separate anti-video piracy cell, under the aegis of AP Film Chamber of Commerce, has been of no avail. Producers are now dependent upon private companies to track and eliminate online piracy.

Though, the origin of piracy was initially blamed on US theatres, it was later traced to a few individuals in Chennai and a handful of local exhibitors as being behind both online and physical piracy. Producers rue that the manipulators are so tech-savvy that cameras are fixed to projectors in theatres and the film with DVD quality print is uploaded in just eight hours of its release. A few theatres in Vijayawada, Warangal and Kurnool are suspected to be hand-in-glove with these unethical operators.

It is even alleged that the ‘pirates’ are even demanding ransom from producers to the tune of Rs 3-5 lakh. Producers suspect a Chennai connection behind the thriving racket. It is not uncommon for people travelling from Chennai by road to come across pirated CDs of just released movies. A producer says modern technology enables generation of 1000 CDs in just a minute and lakhs of CDs are distributed overnight.

A silver lining in this distressing situation is that most of the producers of the 125-odd films released in the last 450 days are thanking producer-overseas distributor Mohan Mullapudi for alerting them about online piracy on a day-to-day basis. He keeps a constant vigil on more than 100-odd rogue sites and sends producers concerned web links of pirated versions and they in turn, make arrangements to remove content on these websites for at least the first few days of a movie’s release.

But, one individual can’t stop the menace of such proportions. Unless concerted efforts are made by all the concerned, it cannot be done away with. Producers of Malayalam and Kannada films have made a beginning to curb this menace with focused efforts. The industry seeks stringent laws on the lines of those in vogue in the US. If a US citizen downloads a pirated film on his system, he gets a pop up – an FBI warning that he is downloading an illegal content.

But if he overlooks it and clicks again, his Internet connection gets conked off. If he does it for a third time, cops come knocking on his doors and arrest him. There is a need for similar measures in India, too. Pirates should be effectively tracked and arrested, while citizens should be made aware of stern punishments if they patronise such unlawful activities. The role of government here cannot be over-emphasised

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