S. Vijay Kumar

"In many places, they are delivered at doorstep within minutes of sending an SMS"

Those in the piracy racket do not take the risk of smuggling VCDs of movies from foreign countriesIt has also become easy to download movies from websites, the quality of which is also good

MADURAI: After a lull, the video piracy industry is back in business.

Pirated versions of new films are in circulation in many parts of the State, thanks to an uninterrupted supply of Tamil, Hindi and English movies from Thiruvanathapuram, Pondicherry and Bangalore.

For the southern districts, Bheemapalli near Thiruvananthapuram is a major supplier of pirated VCDs. Bangalore and Pondicherry are also considered a safe haven for production and sale of VCDs of new movies.

Police sources say latest Tamil movies are on sale in these places within 24 hours of release.

The cost of such VCDs range between Rs. 30 and Rs. 50 a copy. "The offenders use the VCD as a master copy and make fresh prints. One just needs a computer system and a CD-writer to duplicate copies. In many cases, recording is done in movie halls with the collusion of theatre owners," says a police official.

After video piracy was brought under Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum-Grabbers Act, 1982, those in the piracy racket do not take the risk of smuggling VCDs of movies from foreign countries.

No more hiring

"The business has taken a new dimension. VCDs are not rented out anymore. Now, it is only on sale and customers also show no reluctance to buy. A new movie can be bought for Rs. 40 whereas the cost of producing a new print is around Rs. 8. In many areas, VCDs are delivered at doorstep within minutes of sending a short messaging service (SMS)," he adds.

Also, some foreign websites host latest movies on their home page. It is easy to download these movies and the quality is also good.

In the nine southern districts, special raids were organised in recent months under the directions of the Superintendent of Police (Video Piracy), Vineet Kumar Wankhede, and at least 100 cases were registered against habitual offenders.

According to Inspector C. Shanmuganathan, raids are being organised at regular intervals at vulnerable places. Meetings are organised with theatre owners and film distributors to devise plans to curb piracy.

"Since the trend now is home delivery, it is becoming increasingly difficult to corner the culprits. We are engaging decoys to trap them," Mr. Shanmuganathan adds.

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