Piracy is theft of creative content.

Digitalization of creative content and pervasiveness of internet as a medium for content distribution has an unwelcome spinoff in the form of online piracy where copyrighted content is indiscriminately distributed over the internet leading to immense loses to stakeholders (movies, brands, musics, publishing, etc.)

What is online piracy?

Online piracy in a nutshell means illegal uploading and/or downloading and misrepresentation of copyrighted material; movies, brands, music, etc. Any form of piracy (online or street piracy) of copyrighted material cheats the copyright holders of their rightful and fair compensation for their efforts.

What are the modes and methods of piracy?

Films are illegally recorded by camcorder in theaters. The recorded content is replicated and burned into CDs and distributed worldwide in a matter of days.Alternatively the illegally recorded movies are distributed via internet as downloadable files using streaming sites, P2P services, and cyberlockers or third party file-sharing services. These are offered to be downloaded free and result in immense losses to movie production fraternity.

What is “copyright”?

The exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work) is called copyright.Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.

Economic Impact

The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry Published in March 2009 by United States-India Business Council (USIBC) and prepared by Ernst and Young India, claims that as much as Rs.16, 000 crores are lost due to piracy. Alongside, as many as 80,000 jobs are lost directly as a result of theft and piracy, afflicting India’s entertainment industry. The President of USIBC, Ron Summers used the opportunity to suggest stronger legal means to tackle piracy. He said, “We strongly support passage by India of optical disc legislation that will thwart piracy in this important industry. We are pleased to stand shoulder to shoulder with counterparts in India to help protect jobs and revenues that are now being needlessly lost to piracy.”

Combating Piracy

An effective strategy to combat online piracy should identify and target the following components of online piracy:

  • Illegal recorders.
  • Uploaders of illegal content.
  • Distribution facilitators like P2P services and streaming video/audio link providers.
  • Downloaders who download and watch this illegal content.

Enforcement efforts together with speedy resolution of copyright infringement cases in the court system to penalise and curtail online piracy.

Customer awareness programs - It requires a very delicate balance of education, coercion and awareness to bring down piracy. The more popular facilitators such as YouTube do cooperate with anti-piracy efforts by removing links to offending media upon request by the copyright owners. Stronger law enforcement for copyright violators and widespread understanding of the concept of law-abiding digital citizenship will definitely go a long way in curbing this menace.

Technical measures such as forensic watermarking that facilitate investigators and law enforcement agencies.

Law governing copyright in India

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957

The Information Technology Act, 2000

Copyright Violation

Section 64 of the Indian Copyright Act 1957 provides that "Any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector, may, if he is satisfied that an offence under Section 63 in respect of the infringement of copyright in any work has been, is being, or is likely to be, committed, size without warrant, all copies of the work, wherever found, and all copies and plates used for the purpose of making infringing copies of the work, wherever found, and all copies and plates so seized shall, as soon as practicable, be produced before a magistrate.".