The Government of India has shown foresight in identifying the Media & Entertainment Industry as a champion sector. There are many livelihoods involved in the creation of ﬁlms, music, literature & art, the entire creative process has investments and economics driving the sector and contributing to the GDP. Per FICCI-EY 2019 report, the Media and Entertainment Industry in India is estimated to have revenues approximately USD 25 billion. For our country, with a rich diversity and cultural heritage there are many stories to tell, and there is no reason why the industry in India cannot achieve the GDP contributions of markets like United Kingdom, US and South Korea. In India, as long as there are a high percentage of revenue leakages in the monetization chain because of piracy, fair value to all stakeholders in the creative process will always remain a pipe dream and champion status will always elude us. The Government has addressed this concern recently, but the time has now come to introduce administrative measures which will empower the executive and bring immediate and long-term relief to this cancer called piracy of content.
Closer home, cheap data and smartphone penetration have proved to be a double edged sword, though they have helped the Indian recorded music industry cross the INR 1000 crore mark for the ﬁrst time, sadly as per the IFPI- IMI Digital Music Study ‘19, piracy is still pegged at 67 percent and causes an estimated loss of revenue of INR 1500 crore annually. Like cancer, piracy will need chemotherapy and the prescribed course of action which will be most eﬀective is through administrative measures. Administrative measures wherein the executive at the centre and state will be empowered to block infringing websites and apps in the digital space, and in the physical space preventing counterfeit products of Carvaan and Kodi Boxes giving the consumer illegal access to television channels, OTT services etc. Creative industry stakeholders are ready and willing to provide the executive empirical and fact-based evidence of such infringing vehicles.
The palliative care to this cancer is via Digital Civics where it is important that the public at large needs to be educated about the potential ﬁnancial threat of accessing content illegally, with embedded malware entering devices and the pirates getting access to credit card details, bank details and the very real possibility of identity theft. As per RAND reports, entertainment piracy operations have close links to terror organizations and crime syndicates.
Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (“CIPAM”), an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce has made a good start to spreading digital civics, but eﬀorts need to be ramped up and the creative industry must contribute monetarily and professionally to the CIPAM initiatives. The MCDCU (Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit) project in Mumbai is a much-needed initiative as a B2G (Business to Government) partnership where industry has made monetary and technical collaborations with a state initiative.
The Maharashtra B2G initiative should be rolled out initially to other high potential creative states such as Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu with immediate eﬀect - and in Phase 2 to the rest of the country.
India has a low take down rate of 37 percent as opposed to the 97 percent take down rate in China. As per IFPI, in 2019, there were 467 websites hosting illegal Indian content outside India, the number apps embedded with pirated Indian content grows by the hour. It is time that India uses every diplomatic platform or forum be it at the bi- lateral level via the FTAs or multi- lateral trade pacts such as BIMSTEC and RCEP to ensure greater enforcement of media and entertainment content infringement and seek content protection for the Indian creative industry. Maybe it is time for our own India 301 annual report. USTR, are you listening?