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Stronger laws needed to combat online content piracy

MUMBAI: On the third and concluding day of FICCI Frames 2016, a session called ‘It’s Simple: Just Follow the Money’ dealt with how pirate websites are making money.

The panel, moderated by John Medeiros (chief policy officer, cable and satellite, Broadcast Association of India), had David Clark (detective chief super, head of economic crime and fraud, City of London Police), Uday Singh (MD, Motion Picture Association India), Kieron Sharp (DG, The Federation Against Copyright Theft) and Sai Krishna Rajagopal (Sai Krishna Law Firm) giving their opinion on the issue.

Clark spoke about the success of Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) to tackle IP crime where they can suspend illegitimate .uk websites without an official order. As many as 8,500 websites have been suspended since PIPCU’s inception, 3,610 between Nov 2014 to October 2015 on the .uk domain tree, higher than any law enforcement agency, he informed.

Singh said that laws will have to be strengthened to tackle piracy in India. Sai Krishna referred to the Telengana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU) to block pirate websites and suspend their licence.

Many of the brands are not even aware of their products being advertised on illegal platforms. “To tackle the loss of revenue, we might have to start sending notices to the end users of these pirate websites asking them some kind of penalty that will ensure revenue for owners of the content being consumed illegally,” said Rajagopal.

While the Telugu industry lost close to $40 million last year due to piracy, in the first quarter of 2016 there has been no report of illegal download of any Telugu film.

Sharp suggested that the government should increase the penalty for online crime as it is as bad a crime as a physical crime.

Many of the brands are not even aware of their products being advertised on illegal platforms. “To tackle the loss of revenue, we might have to start sending notices to the end users of these pirate websites asking them some kind of penalty that will ensure revenue for owners of the content being consumed illegally,” concluded Rajagopal.

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