Budget 2019: Film industry says anti-camcording provision will go a long way in ending piracy
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal’s recommendation in the interim Budget to introduce anti-camcording provisions in the Cinematograph Act to control the menace of piracy has gotten the backing of the film industry.
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18 said, “Including anti-camcording provisions as part of the Cinematograph Act will ensure that in-theatre pirated recordings now become a penal offence and will act as a strong deterrent to piracy.”
Rajesh Mishra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Indian Operations, UFO Moviez, said that the move will give teeth to law to take stringent action against the offender.
According to an EY 2018 report, camcording in cinemas is one of the major sources of leakage as over 90 percent of new release titles originate from cinemas.
Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) proposed an amendment to the Cinematograph Act to check film piracy. It introduced punishment of three years with a fine of Rs 10 lakh for the accused.
Experts are also of the opinion that the amendment will not put an immediate end to piracy, but will certainly act as a deterrent and that it will strengthen the hands of law enforcement agencies.
The menace of piracy still haunts India, affecting the film industry adversely. The industry faces an annual loss of substantial revenues, to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore every year, accompanied by a loss of 60,000 jobs, according to a 2017 KPMG report, titled Media for the masses: The promise unfolds.
Big releases of 2018 like 2.0, Simmba, Maari 2, fell prey to this menace. The problem lingered in 2019 too, hitting Rajinikanth’s film Petta.
One website giving sleepless nights to the industry is ‘TamilRockers’ that has been termed a “bull that cannot be tamed”. Despite the Madras High Court directing 37 internet service providers (ISPs) to block over 12,000 websites that showcase pirated versions of Tamil films, Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar-starrer 2.0 was leaked online by TamilRockers.
Bollywood has also suffered much due to piracy. Last year, shortly after the release of Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju in June, the producers of the film had lodged a complaint with the Cyber Cell. They stated that the movie went viral via Facebook Live. This had pushed the Maharashtra Cyber Cell to ban 11 websites that provided illegal web links for the film on Facebook Live.
“With recent films being leaked to the audiences within days of their release, the anti-camcording provision comes as a boon to the industry which has been fighting piracy all these years and suffering huge losses in the process,” said Apoorva Mehta, CEO Dharma Productions.
According to a report titled The Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Threat, India ranks fourth in the world for peer-to-peer downloading, with 965 million downloads between January 2017 and May 2018.