FICCI’s BS argument against movie piracy – Trashed on all fronts ‘academically’.

I happen to look around if there are any ‘academic’ discourses about Piracy in India and came across ‘A two-day Conference on ‘The Copyright Amendments, 2012: A fair Balance?’ (Videos)(Event summary) hosted by NUJS and CUSAT. I only wish all universities compulsorily publish conference videos like these available for public consumption.

I will take the following talk on which can be dubbed as Bollywood’s argument on piracy and give a gist of ‘academic’ rebuttals to the BS argument. Rebuttals start at 24:00 on the video.

Sheetal Chopra on copyright theft in India at NUJS-CUSAT Conference

  • Anjum Rajabali – a screenwriter, member of Film Writers’ Association opined that the industry lacks moral conviction to fight piracy as they themselves ‘steal’ plots / stories from abroad / aspiring screenwriters. ‘You can’t be a wife beater and join women’s rights movement’.
  • Pranesh Prakash of Centre for Internet and Society mentioned as per a study on Media Piracy in Emerging Economies by Joe Karaganis and others, that enforcement, education against piracy have failed to bring it down and one thing that has consistently worked to bring down was improving the affordability (pricing) / accessibility and also mocked at the piracy loss figures.
  • Dr. Madhukar Sinha, Professor at Centre for WTO Studies wondered how an industry which cries of piracy loss can ‘grow’ YoY and make more films each year. He cited that a vast majority of Indians are priced out of entertainment completely and even television carries a cost that’s unafforadable and generally available ‘late’ due to windowing policy. He also talked about the urban untouchability where people from economically underprivileged classes are discriminated in theater screens even if they manage to afford the entertainment which is why sections are society are embrasing piracy with open hands.
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