Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bobby Bedi blames law enforcement agencies for piracy [India]

A veteran Bollywood filmmaker has said that problems of piracy and counterfeiting were plaguing the Indian entertainment and blamed the law enforcement agencies for the scenario.
Ahead of the World Intellectual Property Day on Saturday, filmmaker Bobby Bedi slammed the government of India for poor enforcement of the "great laws" to curb piracy.

"Today in Bombay, for example, you could go to jail for a night for talking on your mobile phone while driving. But if you are caught with cable piracy, it is not so easy to prosecute. There is no sense in having a law that cannot be enforced," Bedi said.
"But that is India's problem in so many areas. We have great laws and not so great enforcement," Bedi said.
Bedi's remarks assumes significance in view of a recent study by Ernst & Young showing that the Indian entertainment industry was losing $ 4 billion a year, representing almost 40 per cent of their potential annual revenue, due to piracy and counterfeiting.
"Tonight we hear the story of one filmmaker who has made a tremendous contribution to India's burgeoning entertainment industry. He represents one of the thousands of filmmakers around the world who are victims of piracy," said California Congresswoman Diane Watson.
Michael P. Ryan, director of the Creative and Innovative Economy at the GW Law School, argued that originality and innovation are essential to driving long-term growth in developing economies and that piracy creates a real dilemma for filmmakers like Bedi as it curtails their imagination.
"So long as pirates earn a high share of movie revenues, producers must focus on making relatively inexpensive movies. To finance a grander vision, the creators must receive not just the critical but also the monetary rewards of inventiveness.
"The Indian film industry is the largest in the world with more than 1,000 films produced each year," Ryan said.
Bedi is critically acclaimed for his work in films, including Bandit Queen, Fire and Saathya. He is now producing a three-film series on the Indian legend, the Mahabharata, at an estimated cost of $ 70 million. It will be India's most expensive movie venture ever.
According to a report India's television industry loses $ 2.68 billion and as many as 820,000 direct jobs are also lost as a result of theft and piracy.

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