SpicyIP Tidbit: Govt. Disapproves Optical Policy Draft

In an earlier post by Sumathi, a reference was made to the optical disk legislation. Last November, it was reported that the Government was scrutinising the recommendations made with regard to the optical disk law to check piracy in the film industry. The draft law was prepared by members of the film industry along with FICCI at the initiative of the Government. According to the Business Line, a study titled “The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry” released by the US India Business Council (USIBC) with Ernst & Young shows that 800,000 direct jobs and Rs 16,000 crore are lost every year due to piracy which naturally explains the concerns of the film fraternity.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Government is not in favour of implementing the recommendations for they require inspection of content and consequently creation of a regime of inspectors. The IB Ministry Secretary Ms.Asha Swarup was quoted as saying that the draft law was not the Government’s preferred way of tackling piracy for it “goes against the very grain of liberalisation”.

Here’s an excerpt from the Business Standard giving industry reactions:

In his address, Yash Chopra, chairman, FICCI Entertainment Committee & Yash Raj Films, said that Indian cinema had transcended geographical boundaries. However, he added: “Piracy, IP protection in the animation segment and censorship are hurdles that the Indian media and entertainment industry have to overcome.”

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP and president of FICCI, pointed out that the industry today had reached a point of critical mass. “I believe this industry is poised to achieve the scale and size required to have global value and presence,” he said. The challenge for the industry over the next few years, he said, was to become globally relevant to the capital markets and investors; relevant to producers and consumers of entertainment all over the world.

Kunal Dasgupta, co-chairman, FICCI Entertainment Committee & CEO Sony Entertainment Television, said: “We are in talks with the Academy of Television Arts and Science in the US, which represents the popular Emmy Awards, and hopefully we will able to present an Indian version of the popular Emmy Awards by next year.”

Amit Khanna, chairman, Reliance Entertainment & FICCI Convergence Committee, said new digital technology would reshape the distribution and exhibition business.

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