201901.11
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India proposes prison sentences for low-tech cinema piracy

India has been a hotbed for digital piracy since internet access became mainstream in the developed towns and cities in the country. Both Hollywood and Bollywood have been consistent victims of piracy in India, and the Indian Government has come up with a proposal to stem the tide.

There are three main ways that a new release can be pirated. The more “high quality” option is that somebody leaks (or steals) the actual digital file from the production company, so a pirate (or some pirates) can upload high quality (and now generally high definition) versions across the internet. Some production companies have got particularly good at preventing this type of leak by deploying better digital security.

More problematic for the production companies is piracy out of their own hands: either distributors’ or cinemas’ staff leaking the file. Even more problematically is cinema goers simply recording the cinema screen and sound (even with old technology such as a camcorder). This last “low tech” example of piracy is particularly difficult to track as there is no digital footprint for authorities to track back to find the original pirate.

In order to combat this, the Indian Government is now proposing a ‘camcorder piracy’ offense of recording in cinemas which would attract a sentence of up to three years imprisonment and a fine of about £10,000. It is clearly hoped that this sentence will act as a deterrent to would-be pirates and protect the rights of filmmakers both in India and abroad.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.