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Tollywood pleads you to “Say NO to Piracy!”

August 6, 2009

Tollywood, one of the biggest regional film industries in India, has a new problem in its kitty. Online Piracy. Following reports of online piracy of “Magadheera“, in a panel discussion aired yesterday on Sakshi TV, about online piracy and the challenge Tollywood is facing, producers Suresh Babu, Shyam Prasad Reddy and Allu Aravind had some grave things to share. It’s estimated that in 2008, Tollywood might have lost about Rs.500 crores to online piracy and other kinds of copyright violations. And of course, there’s always the case of pirated cd’s and dvds which are freely available in the market. That’s a huge figure and given the percentage of hit films we have every year. probably it’s way more than what the sum of profits which Tollywood makes in a given year. Here’s what the panel members had to say…and I quote them…

Allu Aravind– “People have to be education about why Online Piracy is such a big crime. It directly effects our profits besides loss of jobs of hundreds of people associated with it. The Cyber laws in the country have become very stringent now and if you get caught, it may even lead to 10 years of imprisonment.”

Shyam Prasad Reddy– “Online Piracy has been eating away a huge share of profits for the past 2-3 years. I am appalled to see that our own people, engineers, students living in AP, other parts of India and abroad upload content like videos, songs, full length movies on their sites illegally to make money (via ads). We should treat cyber crime as a serious offence and punish those responsible like how the law deals with the goondas.”

Suresh Babu– “People have no idea how bad is this online piracy for our film industry. We can probably make 100 more films every year if there’s no piracy. Technology has improved so drastically that it’s very hard to control it. People who indulge in online piracy are greedy and it’s my appeal to the honest ones out there to help us in curbing piracy and educate those who are into it. Stop watching films and other content which have been uploaded illegally on the net.”

The crux of this problem lies in our own psyche. We find anything which is “free of cost” almost irresistible. Same’s the case with piracy. In most cases the content/movies are either given free of cost and even if there’s money involved, it might be only a fraction of the cost what we will be paying at the theatres. While it’s almost impossible to curb piracy totally, there can be quite a few number of things which the governemt, Tollywood and we can do to help save our films from falling prey to online and offline piracy…

I. 10 things the Governement can do!

1.Echoing Shyam Prasad Reddy’s views, Bring the Cyber Crimes act under the Goondas Act in Andhra Pradesh.

2. Make cyber laws way more stringent and have an efficient mechanism to track down the IPs and ISPs of those who illegally upload/download content from the internet.

3. Start a mass campaign across the state about why piracy is such a big deal to the film industry and for those whose lives depend on the success of film industry.

4. Do not allow anyone to sell VCDs/DVDs on the roads and even in black market.

5. Don’t encourage piracy of other language films as well so that the respective departments of the Governemt can have a mutual understanding and fight piracy together.

6. Give enough scope for the theatres to survive. Already quite a few cinema halls have been either converted to Shopping malls or Wedding Halls.

7. Recognise film industry on par with other industries across the state.

8. Stop protecting those who are arrested or charged of cyber crime.

9. The judgement in such cases has to be very fast and severe. Let’s set an example for others.

10. Encourage other regional language films to be screened in our state with the minimal possible Entertainment tax.

II. 10 Things Tollywood Should/Could do.

1. Make Better films. That’s the primary concern we have when it comes to Tollywood. The kind of scripts which are made into films are outdated and stale. It’s just not the technology, but also the kind of themes and the very basic approach to cinema that has to evolve if you want to bring the audience back to the cinema halls.

2. Don’t delay the DVD/VCD release and also the official premeire on TV. A strategy similar to that of Bollywood can be implemented here. These days some of the latest Hindi films are aired within 3 months of its official release in the theatres.

3. DVD/VCD prices can be made much cheaper, just like what Moser Baer has done with the Hindi films.

4. Ask your online media partner to disable the right click on all pages of the website which has your content. That prevents copy pasting to a great extent. People sometimes think it’s too much of an effort to use some special softwares to download videos and upload the same again on their website/blog.

5. Encourage all the theatre owners across the state to upgrade to Digital projection and convince them not to fall prey to gangs who support piracy.

6. Co-ordination across the film fraternity is important and put in an effort for not only big films but also the smaller ones.

7. Launch a huge campaign about piracy and online piracy across the state. Show videos of how seriously law deals with people who get caught.

8. A trailer about the ill-effects of online piracy should be aired before the beginning of every movie across the state.

9. Have specific teams to track pirated content on the internet.

10. Award people who intimate you with instances of piracy and encourage more people to stop watching movies/videos on the net if it’s not legal.

III. 10 things which WE should do.

1. Stop downloading films and streaming content on the net.

2. Discourage people who do that. They could be your friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.

3. These days most of the downloadable content is put on the official website of the movie. Visit only those sites to get your mobile downloads and wallpapers..etc.

4. Stop copy pasting content onto your website/blog from other sites/blogs. It’s a theft of intellectual property and that’s a serious crime.

5. Redirect the page to appropriate website from which views have been copied. A mere mention of the website/blog at the end of the article from which the content has been taken is unethical. Think about it, you are still getting the online traffic and money from ads.

6. If you find that a movie is bad depending on the general buzz and movie reviews, it’s better that you don’t watch the film at all in theatres. Wait for the official DVD to release or it’s official broadcast on TV.

7.Fans, please put an end to your egos. I have heard of instances where fans of rival heroes indulge in making pirated DVDs and CDs in some of the smaller towns of the state.

8. Making money on the net is very addictive. Make sure you are putting some effort by creating some original content to earn that money. If not, you are depriving a lot of traffic and money to the deserving writers..

9. Plenty of sites have no content at all. With effective use of SEO, tags, labels they drive the online traffic to their site. Nothing is more inane and inept than that.

10. Respect the film industry for the effort it’s putting. Yes, the films aren’t brilliant all the time and quite a few scenes are plagarised. But it’s absurd and stupid to deprive them the handful buck they make from their movies.

There can be plenty of things which we as the audience can do to curb piracy. Primarily our attitude towards everything and anything that’s free has to change. Most of the times, it’s not legal. You could start off by visiting some standard blogs and websites which have good original conent. And believe me, there are less than 10-15 original reviews for any given film on the net. All other websites just copy paste the entire content onto their site. Some encouragement to the ones which keep it real and original would do a whole lot of good.

Online piracy is not only a crime but it shows our lack of morality. It’s almost tantamount to ruining someone else’s life because of our habitual piracy. Yes, most of us indulge in piracy in some form or another…Lets have the conviction and balls to accept that we are committing a big mistake and a crime. Let’s stop doing it. Let’s save our films.

Keep it Real. Keep it Original. Because, those who indulge in online piracy hang somewhere between being guilty of a crime and committing the crime. Do you know where you stand?

Say No to Piracy!

By,

Hemanth

(The author can be reached at.. hemanth.cr@gmail.com)

P.S: These are only some of the suggestions I could come up. If you have more suggestion about how to combat online piracy, do drop a comment…lets hope that someone from Tollywood and movie buffs read what we have to say…:)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Srikanth "Lola" Viswanathan permalink
    August 6, 2009 5:08 pm

    Mama, ekkado touch chesav ee post tho. A very well written, In consulting (Which happens to be my job 😦 ) terminology you have done a very good stakeholder responsibilities 😉

    Btw, this new look is as good as the earlier one, i cannot spot any major changes (oopps)

    • Hemanth permalink*
      August 7, 2009 12:01 pm

      @Lola: Thanks macha!…:)

  2. sesha permalink
    August 7, 2009 9:56 am

    I completely agree with u. It shows lack of morality. What about our film makers who are complaining? don’t they know there are copyright laws that exist along with cyber laws?
    How many movies are made here every year where in a foreign film is lifted totally or in part? Don’t they think moral values then?

    • Hemanth permalink*
      August 7, 2009 12:05 pm

      @Sesha: You did bring in a very valid point. Plagiarism in Telugu films is in full swing these days…maybe that’s one reason why people have stopped watching Telugu movies to some extent. It’s high time that our “esteemed” filmmakers realise that there’s huge chunk of population who take plagiarism and other copy rights violations very seriously!…..

      On the other hand, lets not mix up Plagiarism with Piracy…One thing shouldn’t be a direct result of the other, ideally! That would mean neither of us are honest when it comes to films.

  3. August 7, 2009 11:05 pm

    Piracy is evil but , preaching and pleading would not be of much help to curb it. Reasons
    1. The exorbitant ticket rates ( $ 15 – 20) overseas encouraged online piracy and also acted as catalysis for growth of zillions of sites posting scripts, dialogues etc in the name of reviews.
    2. Hypocritical Telugu film industry campaigns against piracy and simultaneously lobbies for raising ticket prices.
    3. Why do you only copy Hollywood movies. Ape their anti-piracy practices.
    4. If they claim that they are like any other industry, the film fraternity better behave like one.

    • Hemanth permalink*
      August 9, 2009 9:41 am

      @RajGopal: Absolutely…I agree. Hope someone from Tollywood is listening!…:)

  4. GiridharShyam permalink
    August 27, 2009 4:03 pm

    Just curious … the images posted on the reviews of every movie is creative common protected ???

    • Hemanth permalink*
      August 27, 2009 5:34 pm

      @Giridhar: Most of the images I use are from Wikipedia. Are they copyrighted??..

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