Online Piracy of Indian Movies: Is the Film Industry Firing at the Wrong Target?
Michigan State International Law Review, 2013, Vol. 21, Issue 3, pp. 647-663
17 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2012 Last revised: 10 Dec 2013
Date Written: January 20, 2013
India has recently introduced some digital rights management (DRM) provisions to the Indian copyright law with the objective of providing “adequate” protection for copyrighted material in the online digital environment. Film industry was one of the biggest lobbying groups behind the new DRM provisions in India, and the industry has been consistently trying to portray online piracy as a major threat. The Indian film industry also extensively uses John Doe orders from the high courts in India to prevent the access of Internet users to websites suspected to be hosting pirated material. This paper explores two questions in the context of the new DRM provisions in India: (1) Is online piracy a threat to the Indian film industry? and (2) Are the present measures taken by the film industry the optimal measures for addressing the issue of online piracy? Based on data from an extensive empirical survey conducted in India, this paper questions the claims of the industry that online piracy is at a substantial level in India. The Internet usage related data in India also support the findings from the empirical survey. However, the paper observes that pirated Indian movie content is abundant in the Internet and this shows the existence of strong demand for those content. Based on a careful analysis of different websites hosting pirated Indian movies, the paper illustrates that the most probable consumers of those pirated movies are the millions of (potential) consumers residing abroad. The paper argues that the enactment of DRM provisions under Indian copyright law or wide sweeping John Doe orders may never be a solution for such piracy. Piracy of Indian movie content abroad is primarily attributable to the failure of the Indian film industry to explore innovative business models to reach (potential) consumers abroad. The paper argues that the Indian film industry may achieve sustainable solutions for online piracy only by making the legitimate products reach those consumers.
Keywords: Indian film industry, Film industry, Piracy, DRM, John Doe orders, Ashok Kumar orders, Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012, Copyright enforcement
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