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PM Modi promises to protect intellectual property rights

Modi_in_US_2015 Updated: Sep 25, 2015 23:36 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times

Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a group photo after an interaction with CEOs of America in New York on Thursday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a group of media barons on Thursday he is committed to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), a red-button issue for many US businesses. “We are committed to protecting IPR which is essential to fostering creativity,” he told the group, which accounted for 40% of the world’s entertainment industry.

They included News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, his son James Murdoch and top executives of ABC, Comcast, Time Warner, Discovery, Sony, ESPN and Disney.

In tweets about the meeting, Modi said he told them, “Digital technology has a vital role in making democracy stronger & in overall human resource development.

And, he “explained to media CEOs why India is a great opportunity for them & how many regional languages makes India even more special to invest in.”

The CEOs seemed “enthusiastic”, he added.

Many of the media companies present in the room are already in India, with others looking for a chance to get in — to them the Prime Minister said India was a challenge and an opportunity.

IPR is a major concern for some US companies, especially in the pharma sector, who have sought to mount pressure on the Indian government to bring it in line with their commercial interests. However, it’s a separate conversation India is having with these firms and their backers in the US, who have appealed for changes.

Government spokesman Vikas Swarup said the Prime Minister urged media barons to think of starting a communications university or a chair for further progress in this sector.

Modi met Wall Street leaders such as J P Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, KKR’s Henry Kravis, who told him his government was on the right track. He heard pretty much the same later at a dinner he hosted for 42 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, with an appeal to speed up the pace of change.