A little over a month after the government passed an ordinance (July 16) that entails booking of audio/video pirates under the stringent Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous activities Act (MPDA), Joint Commissioner of Police, crime, Rakesh Maria claimed that fear of prosecution had brought down piracy considerably.
However, the Crime Branch now wants to get to the root of the problem by going after the kingpins of the piracy syndicate.
The open sale of pirated videos has been curbed to a considerable extent and the vendors are no longer seen frequenting common spots like Lamington road, CST station and the like.
“The vendors and pirates now supply only to those who approach them with a specific demand,” said an officer.
On Saturday, 6,880 pirated CDs, DVDs of Hindi, English, Marathi and blue films worth Rs 6.71 lakh were seized during a raid conducted by the MRA Marg police.
Maria said, “The entire syndicate is a vicious circle and there cannot be an end to piracy until and unless the masterminds are caught.”
“The officials are working out details of the people who own CD and DVD vending machines and manufacture thousands of CDs within a minute from the master copies. We are also gathering information about the godowns and the stockists,” added Maria.
The Indian music and film industry suffers a loss of about 959 million US dollars each year due to video piracy. As per the statistics (till June 30 this year), 153 people were arrested and 2.45 lakh CDs and DVDs to the tune of Rs 4.78 crore were seized from them.
As a part of the on-going anti-piracy drive, the UTV Motion Pictures, along with Social Service Branch of the crime branch, seized around 60,000 CDs and DVDs of various films including recent Bollywood releases like Kaminey and Agyaat from Haryana and Maharashtra in a fortnight’s time.
The MPDA calls for a punishment of one year of imprisonment without bail. Following the ordinance, the Crime Branch has formed a special dedicated cell-Anti-Piracy cell, which is headed by Sheela Sail, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement).