Internet piracy is a big business all over the world, but it sees particular popularity in India. Once bootlegged CDs and DVDs sold out of plastic bags were common to see, but now, the market for pirated media has quickly moved online. As easy as it is to decry, more people than you’d think are taking advantage of pirated materials. It’s much easier than to choose the best online casino. Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi have emerged as the hub spots for India’s online piracy activity.
According to the reports from the MPDA (Motion Picture Distributor’s Association), India has one of the highest film piracy rates per capita of any country in the world. According to a 2008 report by Ernst & Young accountants commissioned by the US India Business Council, pirated films led to the Indian film industry losing $959,000 and over 500,000 jobs that year. The majority of this is down to pirates bringing home video equipment into cinemas on a film’s opening weekend and uploading the film as quickly as possible for online users.
This isn’t for want of the relevant authorities trying to weed these illegal practices out. It’s hard to pursue these pirates through legal channels since the software used to host and distribute the illegal content is often based outside of the country, leaving law enforcement officials at a loss. The government looked like it was beginning to take the problem more seriously in 2012 when the makings of a crackdown started coming together to help find a solution. The anti-piracy arm of the Kerala state police tracked the IP addresses of over a thousand people who had been involved in pirating the recently released film Bachelor Party.
A key to understanding the piracy problem lies in looking at how the piracy websites make their money. They’re not at all like those sites that offer a casino bonus online to their visitors. One of their principal revenue streams is from site advertising such as banner ads and popups. Many of these revenue streams are facilitated by online brands people would assume would be more reputable, like Yahoo and Google, contrary to these companies’ public claims that they are against online piracy. In 2012, the Copyright Amendment Act was also passed that rocked the foundations of India’s copyright law framework, threatening imprisonment of up to two years for those who infringed digital copyrights, as well as legalizing punitive fines. This also applies to people trying to circumvent IRM (Information Rights Management) technology, so anyone trying to remove DRM technology or other content access safeguards is also breaking the law.
These changes could be the new weapons in India’s fight against the online pirates. However, piracy isn’t going to go away overnight and it’s going to take a concerted effort by countries across the world to defeat the pirates’ network. For India at least, it looks like steps are being taken in the right direction.