Entertainment Industry, which faces several roadblocks in the path of high growth, is grappling with the serious problem of piracy and copyright. The problem assumes serious proportions in the wake of WTO and attempts by Indian Film and TV producers to globalise their operations. These concerns were expressed at the recent Indian Television Academy seminar, 'On Television' in Mumbai where TV professionals gave call to collectively fight piracy.
Prem Sagar, marketing director, Sagar Entertainment Limited, whose company faced large scale piracy of TV serial 'Ramayana' and 'Alif Laila' abroad, brought out the horrifying proportions of the problem of copy rights violation. He said that on the basis of fake copyrights, Indian TV programmes are being telecast illegally on foreign channels and it was beyond the capacity of individual producers to check it. "We are sitting on gold mine of Eldarado but can't exploit it as we as industry have no collective data on copy right protection. We need to form a central body to fight piracy by registering copyright countrywide and monitoring overseas distribution and tapping major replicators of VCDs / DVDs abroad. This body can also help simplify producers for international export of TV software".
Endorsing Prem Sagar's views, Urmila Gupta, former director, Directorate Film Festivals, stressed on the need an agreed code of conduct between channel and producers on matters reality to copyright. She also made a plea that ITA should come forward to establish dispute redressal form on the lines of Format Representation and Protection Association in US.
Amit Khanna, President, Film Producers Guild, suggested that TV Software producers need to be part of larger global phenomenon to address piracy issue particularly as in next 2 - 3 years, with seemlessness happening in TV, ways to access entertainment will change.
Anil Baijal, additional secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that in the wake of WTO India needs to work out strategy for multilateral agreements in audiovisual when the matter comes up review next year so that we are in good bargaining position to exploit the global market.
Legal experts Akshay Chaudsama and Mustafa Saifuddin of Chambers of Zia Mody enlightened the TV industry about various legalities involved in Copyright Act. Saifuddin stressed that documentation and awareness of copyright assume critical importance. Chaudsama advised the producers that they should enter into valid contracts with proper stamping and registration to avoid copyright problems. He suggested that ITA should set up Arbitration Body for its members to sort out their problems related to piracy or copyright violation.