If you are downloading a Bollywood ring tune on your mobile phone, you might be violating the copyright act; and the Indian Music Industry plans to take action on it. Over 13,000 cases of intellectual property right violation, mostly physical music piracy, were registered in the country in the past seven years and more than 200 cases of mobile chip piracy detected in the last two years, says IMI President V J Lazarus.
While mobile phone chips have joined the ranks as an instrument for physical form of piracy, public performance of the music and songs, which generally go unnoticed, also comes under the ambit of the law.
But lack of awareness has prevented law-enforcing agencies from dealing with the problem that results in losses of Rs 600-800 crore to the industry every year, Lazarus said.
India ranked 10th in the list of countries affected by piracy and with the current boom in the mobile entertainment segment, its market would encompass over 300 million users, he said.
Section 51 (a) of the Indian Copyright Act clearly states music cannot be played without permission of the copyright holder.
This means music-driven trade outlets like discotheques, hotels organising public music-based functions like New Year parties, coffee shops relying on instrumental or vocal pieces or even the barber shop playing a Bollywood number might be violating the law if they don’t procure proper licences, he said.
“IMI, which represents around 142 music companies, is not concentrating on small-time outlets violating the law at present, due to lack of awareness. But, larger establishments like a lavish hotels or a bustling disco joints are certainly our targets,” Lazarus said.
“We try to inform and convince them the violation and motivate them to procure legitimate licences. If they still refrain from doing so, legal action is taken,” he said.
With the current boom in the ‘mobile entertainment segment’, Indian market is expected to reach more than 300 million users making it among the top ten countries in the world in terms of mobile density.
This market would grow further with the advent of 3G (third generation) service phones opening newer avenues of possible intellectual property theft by way of Caller Ring Back Caller Service (CRBT), Embedded tones, background music, full track downloads, mobile radio and streaming and downloading of music, which bring joy and listening pleasure to the consumers, Lazarus said.
IMI, which issues licenses through its wings Indian Phonographic Ltd (PPL) and Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), has tied up with all telecom operators for legitimate use of music, he said.
Licenses have been issued to radio stations, television broadcasters (including those showing some new-age music-based reality shows) and big portals allowing streaming and downloading of music on the internet, IMI General Secretary Savio D’Souza said.
IMI’s internet anti-piracy team, while closely working with International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), has managed to close 500 sites, mostly based on servers in the USA, he said.