Mumbai is the piracy capital of the country. At least 40% of the money generated through sale of pirated CDs and DVDs comes from the city.There are 2,000 shops in the country selling legitimate CDs and DVDs.Every fifth internet user is downloading the latest releases.

Piracy in India is increasing as number of internet user are growing.  Last week we reported that Anti-Piracy groups trying Dos attacks on uncooperative torrent sites. Mumbai is the piracy capital of the country. At least 40% of the money generated through sale of pirated CDs and DVDs comes from the city.

Only two million original CDs and DVDs are sold annually in the country, while 600 million pirated prints are available in the market at the same time. At a recent conference of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), experts stressed on the need for a force to tackle piracy.

Mumbai, an expert said, has always been a piracy hub because of the film industry. It is easier to make pirated copies of films, he said. The police and officials from various anti-piracy agencies booked more than 350 people and raided at least 250 stalls in the city over the past six months. During these raids, pirated CDs and DVDs worth Rs5 crore were seized, an official from an anti-piracy agency said. The police found that several people had set up makeshift units inside their homes to burn CDs and DVDs.

Since all those booked under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code were let off on bail, the police failed to track down the major players or the kingpins.

Officials from Alliance Against Copyright Theft (AACT), a team of film-makers, production houses and anti-piracy experts, raided several places across the city in the past six months and seized pirated CDs and DVDs worth at least Rs1.5 crore.

“The average occupancy in single screens or multiplexes is around 25%,” home minister RR Patil said. “And this is because of piracy. Pirated CDs and DVDs lead to losses of millions for film-makers, cinema owners, or multiplex owners.”

The minister said that the Mumbai Police would soon have a special cell to tackle piracy. Also, the state has proposed to the Centre that both buyers and sellers of pirated CDs or DVDs should be booked under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act, Patil said.

At present the social service wing of the Mumbai Police deals with piracy. There are several private agencies monitoring the market, an officer said. They inform us about people selling or making pirated CDs and DVDs, he said.

“There are 2,000 shops in the country selling legitimate CDs and DVDs,” Harish Dayani, CEO of Moser Baer, said. “But there could be thousands of stalls and shops selling pirated stuff.” Dayani was one of the panelists at a discussion on tackling piracy at the CII meet.

Also, there is web piracy, he said. Every fifth internet user is downloading the latest releases. This too is piracy, Dayani said. “Not much can be done as most websites are located in foreign countries.”

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