A Blog on Cinema

Combating Video Piracy


Recently the Kerala Govt. decided to take action against Video Piracy. The raids found out that many video shop owners were in violation of the Indian Copyright Act. About 500 cinemas had to close down to video piracy and and this is hurting the film industry. But beyond that piracy is plain illegal. So what do the traders do? They call a hartal and shutdown all the shops. The blog Dog’s own country writes

Video piracy is rampant and action against erring shops was undertaken. The unions are brought in. They conduct a hartal! Why cant Keralites use pirated content? We are superior, we are the best.

Kerala is famous for protesting things which don’t affect us, but protesting for the rights to break the law has to be the first. How hard is it to grasp the concept that stealing software or movies is illegal? The film industry has all the rights to support the raids. There are many reasons why piracy is rampant as Brijesh writes

Another reason why piracy of movies is so rampant in India – rising cost of movie tickets. About 15 years back a balcony ticket for a movie in Kerala would cost something around Rs.10. Now it costs around Rs.50. So for a family of four to watch a movie it would cost about Rs.200. Most Indian families cannot afford to spend Rs.200 for a movie. Instead they borrow a CD for Rs.10 and watch it. So what is the solution for such a situation?

Obviously solution is to reduce the price of the movie ticket. But how can we reduce the price of movie tickets when production cost of movies increases? Wait a minute and think why production cost went up in the last decade? Main reason is that all major stars of Indian movies increased their rates exponentially in the last decade. The income of common man never increased even at one-tenth of that rate. The net result being – common man cannot afford a movie ticket and preferred pirated CDs/Cassettes.

The point I would like to make here is, we need to overall change the culture of film making and distribution in order to curb piracy. The actions by police and other agencies can only help to destroy few drops from an ocean of movie piracy going on.

Just because something is expensive does not give us any God given rights to break the law. As keralatips says, “It is like saying I can’t afford 5 star accommodation, so I use fake credit card at the hotel”

The home grown solution which Malayalam Film Industry has come up with to combat piracy is to release the movie in as many centers as possible. Before the first camera prints hit the market, the producers would have made the money even if the movie is good or bad. Such tricks can work only for movies with stars having die hard fans and is not guaranteed to work all the time.

A combination of various things has to be done to stop this menace. Mammotty, for example, has suggested that police should book the offenders under the Goonda act which would make copying movies a non-bailable offense. Already Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have passed such laws and Karnataka is soon to follow. Mammotty also adds that VCDs should be released only a year after the release of the movies, but as Brijesh says

I feel the Indian movie industry has not changed with time. They are still trying to follow the business model developed few decades ago, which is completely outdated.

When the music piracy was at its peak in US, along with strict laws, most American music companies allowed people to legally download music for small fees. Why can’t we do the same for Indian movies and music? This will reduce piracy to a certain extent especially amongst NRI’s.


  1. I guess you all have heard about the entry of Moser Baer (world’s 2nd largest optical storage manufacturer, an Indian company :)) into the entertainment industry through the Indian home video market.

    They are buying 7000 movie title for a start(Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi languages).

    They are offering high quality titles at very attractive prices between Rs 28 – Rs 34 for VCD/DVD.

    Now it is upto the Malayalam Film Industry to turn this into an oppurtuinity. With even Superhit movies leaving theaters in 2/3 months I guess they should release VCD/DVD at a much earlier date and try to make money. They also have to improve/enhance the movie going experience to make it more attractive than watching it on VCD/DVD

  2. The analogy of hotel does not work, because you can get accomodation in a 0.1 star hotel in case you need to fake the credit card to get accomodation in a 5 star one. In the case of movies, the rates are pretty standard, and high.

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