India the world’s largest producer of films has a record of 9 million annual visits to pirate sites for viewing movies and other content online. The business of piracy began in late 90s and was further catalyzed through the mediums of dissemination through CDs and DVDs and rising as high as rising as high as 62% in the mid of year 2020. According to a research conducted by the US- India Business Council (USIBC), piracy is the cause of approximately 12% unemployment in the global film industry.
What is Piracy? It refers to the act of viewing, selling, purchasing original work without qualifying for authorization from its original owner . Presence of a large number of distinct factors empower piracy business in India however, cheap pricing, geographical barriers and accessibility of easy internet are some of the foundation stones of piracy success in the world.
Section 65 of the Copyright Act, 1957 provides for the legal mechanism to deal with piracy related matters in India prescribing possession of plates for purpose of making infringing copies, protection of technological measures & protection of Rights Management Information.
In reference to a recent case titled, Star India Private Limited (Disney) vs. 7Movierulz.TC & Ors2 ., the Hon’ble Delhi High Court granted an ex- parte ad- interim relief in favor of Disney, recognizing any
Section 2(d) of the Copyright Act, 1957
CS (COMM) 604/ 2022
hosting, streaming, reproduction, distribution or communication of the film to the general audience without prior consent from the creator shall amount to infringement of Copyright of its owner.
Contentions were raised linking the engagement of Defendant in illegal streaming and hosting of content on websites infringing Copyrights of the upcoming film ‘Brashmastra Part One: Shiva’ on different platforms. Being the exclusive owner of rights for production, Disney demanded for a theatrical exhibition of the film followed by its availability on different platforms. The film was submitted to release nationwide on September 9, 2022 and has received appreciation from across the country making it the ‘first of its kind’ in the Indian Cinema.
It was also observed by the Hon’ble Court that,
There is no gain saying that piracy has to be curbed and needs to be dealt with a heavy hand and injunction against screening of copyrighted content by rogue websites ought to be granted.
It is important for the content to be viewed on its original platform to maintain and protect the rights of their creators and the State. Stricter supervision for distribution and channelizing of these malpractices has to be eliminated before it becomes a threatening disappointment for the creators to create.