The Indian music industry has been pro-active in tackling the menace of piracy. IMI has ensured more than 4000 convictions under the Indian Copyright Act 1957 with fines ranging upto Rs 3 lacs and punishment upto 3 years imprisonment. More than 300 cases have been settled through plea bargaining with compensation ranging upto Rs. 20,000.
However, the business of music consumption has changed; music is now being consumed and traded on the internet and other digital devices and the success of this business now depends on certainty in the legal environment and on copyright law. This is a constant and ever-evolving challenge - the music market internationally continues to be distorted by unfair competition from unlicensed services.
Digital piracy is the single biggest threat to the development of the licensed music sector and to investment in artists. A study by IPSOS in 2017 estimated that more than 94% of internet users accessed unlicensed music content. The availability of pirated content discourages users from paying for music through licensed means such as audio streaming and direct downloads. A recent study commissioned by IFPI on Music Consumer Insights highlights that more users in India use piracy to download music than in any other country in the study. Thus, despite a plethora of audio streaming services which offer easy access to musical content, piracy continues to have a huge impact on the recorded music industry in India.
Digital Piracy undermines the licensed music business across many forms and channels - unlicensed streaming websites, peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks, cyberlockers and aggregators, unlicensed streaming, stream ripping and mobile applications. Advertising is a major source of income for unlicensed services and to add to the threat, pirated websites have added cryptocurrency mining malware scripts to their revenue model.
The Indian Music industry is responding with a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach. Some of IMI’s efforts cover:
- Fair Value for Content Owners from Broadcasters.
- Anti-Piracy, a multi-pronged initiative via effective public messaging driving consumers to legit sites where the content is available at no cost, amendment to IT Act section 69A where onus on blocking pirated sites are on the ISP’s and working alongside international forums like ICANN.
- Moving the consumers to a subscription based model bringing about a change in behavior towards paying for content.
- Functioning Collective Governance and Society with better use of technology leading to greater transparency
- Export Incentives
- Innovation environment partnering with Digital India to find solutions specifically for the Indian market
The Industry believes all parties in the digital economy have a responsibility to support legitimate digital commerce and help tackle piracy in all its forms. Record companies are looking to work with all stake holders like advertisers, domain registrars, internet service providers (ISPs), payment providers and search engines to achieve this goal. Indian Courts have issued orders for greater compliance from online intermediaries.