When piracy funds terrorism
DID YOU know that you could be aiding terrorism even without realising it? That you might be responsible for bomb blasts and killing of innocent people? That every time you buy a pirated CD, your hundred rupee note might be funding terrorist groups, underworld dons and their mafia, according to intelligence agencies.
In the past three years, Indians have contributed over Rs. 1,800 crores towards buying stolen intellectual property, according to V.J. Lazarus, president of the Indian Music Industry (IMI). That's the damage to the music industry alone. Double that figure to include the film industry losses caused by video piracy.
"Four years ago, any popular label would sell about 10 million copies. Today, even something like Rahman's `Saathiya' sells not more than a million. Not that people do not have copies of the album. They just have pirated versions, knowingly or unknowingly," as Secretary General of IMI, Savio D'Souza, said during the seminar on `Security Measures for Music' in the city, on Friday.
"We have information that LTTE uses this kind of money. There are about eight CD manufacturing plants in Pakistan. Pakistan is the biggest pirate of Indian music. Even the customs notified duty free shops at the Karachi airport have our music. The money generated by those CD plants might be funding the ISI, " Chief Co-ordinator of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) division of IMI and former Mumbai Commissioner of Police, J. F. Ribeiro, said.
V. Balachandran, IPR Head-West and South explained the magnitude of the issue: "There are over 60 pirate web sites selling Indian music and films. The International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), that the IMI is affiliated to, recently brought out a detailed paper on the nexus between music piracy, organised crime and terrorism".
The Interpol and the IFPI have gathered evidence of organised crime involvement and music piracy in England, Germany, Holland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine, US, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Moldova, Russia, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Macao, Thailand and Taiwan.
"We have evidence of trafficking from Nepal and Burma and Kolkata. In Chennai, pirated CDs now come from Kuala Lumpur, earlier from Singapore," Mr. Ribeiro said. Only recently have the police begun to view piracy as a serious offence. Additional Director General of Police, Crime, CID (Video Piracy Cell), C.S. Munzini, speaking during the seminar, said: "There are two main sites: www.napster.com and www.tamilisai.com that not only have MP3s, but are also showing our films over the Internet".
Srinidhi Chidambaram, dancer, and singer Karthik also attested the anti-piracy campaign.
The solution now, rests in the hands of the common man. IMI in association with Holoflex, has come up with a hologram that will help the layman tell an original from a fake product.
By Sudhish Kamath
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