The anti-piracy cell of the State police on Tuesday held a brainstorming session with stakeholders in the film industry to evolve steps to check piracy.

Though the idea of the session had been to work towards the setting up of an in-house cyber forensic unit, the meeting focused on immediate steps needed to curb piracy.

“During investigation into seizure of pirated films, it was found that a majority of theatre prints of new Malayalam films originated from Bangalore. Hence the producers and exhibitors have taken a decision to defer the release of new Malayalam films in Karnataka by a month. This will be done on an experimental basis,” said P.N. Sudheesh, chief of the anti-piracy cell, who chaired the session.

A private player has been entrusted with the task of tracking instances of new releases being posted online. The firm, Third Eye, has requested more support from the industry to enhance its facilities. It was decided at the meeting that the company would be extended more financial support.

Representatives of film laboratories explained the use of a software to tag films with invisible marks that would help track the film leaked from the laboratories and posted online. The technology would cost $500 and producers have decided to include the amount to the production cost of the film, Mr. Sudheesh said.

The step is expected to help check the posting of new Malayalam films immediately after their DVD release. Investigations have led to evidence about young internet hobbyists believed to be engaged by Europe and Gulf-based online movie pirates to upload Malayalam films immediately after their DVD release.

Awareness drives will be held on copyright laws. A feature film on piracy has been readied to be screened at all cinema halls, said producers at the meeting.

“The public also need to be made aware that even storing child pornographic films is a punishable offence,” said Mr. Sudheesh.

Though there was a move to engage the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to create an “online police patrol”, not much discussion happened on that front.

The State police have begun attempts to track down known offenders and sought support from major e-pay businesses in the country to choke the payment channels for websites offering pirated film content from their bases abroad.

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