IMI demands new Act to fight music piracy
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IMI demands new Act to fight music piracy

Experts from the music industry are asking for more stringent measures to fight piracy, reports Presley Thomas/b.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2007 18:50 IST

Music pirates are raided, prosecuted and in many cases convicted. But most pirates get away by paying small fines even though the law recommends a minimum prison sentence for 6 months for copyright violation, say experts from the music industry, who call for more stringent punitive measures.

If a break up of the convictions for music piracy across the country in the last five years were to be referred, only six persons of 83 have been convicted to imprisonment for a period of three years.

While a major chunk of pirates have got out by paying fines or after serving imprisonment for a period ranging from 15 days to 6 months, there aresterner laws, which levy huge fines on those found flouting the norms.

These have been enacted in the US and EU, butIndia still lacks stringent regulations to curb the ever growing tentacles of music pirates, says experts from the Indian Music Industry (IMI).

It has been talking to the government to enact an optical disc law as well as to levy heavy fines on offenders to deter them financially.

This specifically as the vicious circle of music piracy has been rapidly spreading its tentacles across the country, they say. The extent of piracy can be determined by the number of raids that IMI has conducted across 250 cities in the country.

According to IMI, it has conducted 10,000 raids in the last five years and seized a mammoth quantity of music cassettes, compact discs and shut down as many as 630 Indian music downloading sites. Experts directly attribute the increase in piracy to the latest of technologies.

The secretary general of IMI Savio D'Souza estimates the loss to music industry due to piracy at a whopping amount between Rs 600-700 crores every year. "The figure would shoot-up if one was to consider the mobile chip piracy which has gained popularity due to the mobile revolution," adds D'Souza.

"For every rupee that the music industry earns, they have been loosing a rupee," he further says.

"Piracy has gone up with the introduction of CD's, MP3 players as the operating cost for pirates have gone down substantially. All that the pirate has to bear is the cost for computer and electricity which is sharp contrast to those people who make original music and have to cough up a list of taxes," says VJ Lazarus, president of IMI.

"The only way to deter persons from indulging in piracy is to levy huge fines which would handicap them financially. This method has been hugely successful in countries like US and UK.

"We have been talking to various state governments to enact stringer measures and to enact the Optical disc law to curb anti-piracy," adds Lazarus.

However, super cop Julio Ribeiro feels the necessity of implementing existing laws than formulating fresh acts. "It is necessary for governments to strictly implement existing laws. Proper implementation would itself act as remedy to such problems. Fresher acts are needed only in certain situations."

First Published: Jan 20, 2007 18:50 IST