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Bollywood caught in the world wide web

The Indian film industry is fighting a silent war against a digital enemy? online piracy. Princy Jain tells more.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 15:49 IST

Get ready for a pot boiler and mind you, it is different. The plot is set in Bollywood and though it may seem like stating the obvious, it is the colour of money that adds an interesting twist to the story — Rs 3,000 crore Indian film industry is fighting a silent war against a digital enemy — online piracy and the loss is unthinkable — Rs 1,000 crore every year.

Net loss:
The industry till date has been reeling under other forms of piracy, but today it is the online version which is the biggest bane for Bollywood. With technology improving everyday, the ways and means of piracy have also advanced — it is easier.

For Net addicts and movie buffs, it is too good an opportunity to be missed. One can just log onto sites like youtube.com and watch the popular Ash-Hrithik kiss from Dhoom2 for free and an account holder can also download a 7-min video.

This facility is mainly misused for downloading movie clips. Other sites like desitorrents.com and hotdesi.com allow you to download the entire film and that too in three different formats.

While DVD offers the best quality, telescreen and camera prints are the inferior versions. Or you can also log onto various paid sites including the bollygrounds.com, where a film is available for as low as $5 for a three-day trial offer. What say?

Legally bold:
One of the major reasons behind the growth of online piracy is that it is discreet and a pirate can do his job without revealing his identity.

However, Rajshri Productions has recently taken a step to break the online theft by uploading their films legally on the Net. Rajjat A Barjatya, managing director, Rajshri Media, says, “With the help of digital right management and limited-term license, piracy can be curbed to some extent.” But this singular effort may not be able to curb piracy totally.

Now, the cyber experts are of the opinion that online piracy needs to be stopped before it grows to gigantic proportions. Cyber law expert Pawan Duggal says, “The online piracy of Hindi films is certainly on an upswing,” adding, “even the mother all legislations, IT Act 2000, doesn’t have any specific provision against online piracy.”

However, Duggal gives the final word, “It’s important that Bollywod realises the potential threat from piracy.” Sooner, the better.

princy.jain@hindustantimes.com