The Committee on Piracy set up in pursuance of the decision arrived at in the 27th
State Information Ministers’ Conference held in December, 2009; today submitted its report to Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni. The report was submitted by Shri Uday Kumar Varma, Special Secretary and Chairperson of the Committee on Piracy.
The Committee in its report has made key recommendations, viewing the problem of piracy through the parameters of demand and supply. In its recommendations, the Committee has focused on mainstreaming instruments of policy and practice in an effort to make piracy substantially risky and financially unattractive. The key recommendations of the Committee are as follows:
- In order to plug piracy from the cinema halls during screening of films, the responsibility should be cast on the theatre/multiplex operators to ensure that viewers do not carry a cam-cording device inside the theatre. The Committee has felt that this be made a condition of the license being granted to theatres and multiplexes by the district authorities.
- In the Committee’s considered view, the content creators, rights holders, distributors, optical disc manufacturers and theatre/multiplex operators need to come together and come up with cost effective solutions, inter-alia, converting traditional theatres in smaller towns into digital theatres and releasing genuine DVDs etc in bigger cities simultaneously with theatrical release in order to make piracy unviable.
- The Committee has also recommended amendments in the Cable Television Networks Act in order to replace the existing system of registration of cable operators with the licensing system.
- It has taken note of recent industry initiatives like setting up ‘”Alliance against Copyright Theft (AACT)”, the Committee recommends that such initiatives, if multiplied and intensified, will supplement other efforts to curb piracy.
- The Committee has also recommended that the Internet Service Providers should be roped in to check Internet piracy by asking them to initiate action against errant subscribers. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the three stage strike model may be adopted.
- Regarding State Governments, the Committee has recommended that they may enact legislations so as to provide for preventive detention of video & audio pirates as had been done in some States like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Video pirates may also be brought under the definition of the ‘Goondas’ under the Goonda Act.
- In order to make Films Entertainment more accessible, the Committee has suggested that the price of legitimate Optical Discs need to be brought down in order to make filmed entertainment accessible to the people at a price that they can afford. Further, measures need to be undertaken to ensure high fidelity in genuine DVDs so as to dissuade the public from buying pirated versions. It has further stated that the steps need to be taken by DVD manufacturers along with rights holders and content distributors to ensure that there is no compromise with the quality of genuine DVDs sold and that the viewer is not short-changed.
- In order to buttress the supply side, the Committee in its report has recommended that traditional 35 mm screens should be converted into digital ones so as to facilitate simultaneous release of films across the country as also reduce distribution costs. Digitalization of screens, which have already taken roots in the country with the setting up of almost 3000 such screens, need to be given impetus.
- To enhance, sensitization of police, judicial and administrative officials about the Copyright Act, the Committee has felt that their efforts need to be substantially up-scaled along-with training and capacity building. This would enable these officials to curb violations which have resulted in rampant piracy.
- The Committee also recommends that the option of allowing copyright owners to register with the Copyright Office online should be explored. Alternatively, “censor” certificate granted by CBFC should be treated as evidence of copyright.
The idea to set up a committee to suggest measures to combat various forms of piracy, namely, films, video, cable and music piracy emerged during the 27th
State Information Ministers’ Conference held in New Delhi on 5th
December, 2009 which was attended by, among others, Information Ministers of various State Governments as well as representatives of the film industry. The Honourable Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni, appreciating that piracy is one of the biggest challenges to the integrity of the film and broadcasting industry, immediately set up a broad based committee comprising representatives from film and broadcasting industry. The Committee was set up on 18th
December, 2010 with the mandate to recommend measures to combat film, video, cable and music piracy. The Constitution of the Committee was as under:
i) Shri Uday Kumar Varma, Special Secretary, : Chairperson
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
ii) Shri Yash Chopra, Eminent Film Producer : Member
iii) Shri Manmohan Shetty, President,
Film & Television Producers’ Guild of India : Member
iv) Shri G. Adisheshagiri Rao, Former
President, FFI : Member
v) Shri Jawahar Goel, President, Indian
Broadcasting Federation : Member
vi) Shri Prashant Pandey, Member, Association
of Radio Operators’ of India : Member
vii) Director (BC), Ministry of I&B : Member
viii) Director (Films), Ministry of I&B : Member Secretary