Video piracy continues despite strict police vigil, and the problem can be eliminated only with public cooperation, says

L. Srikrishna

A customer arrives at a shop in the Burma Bazaar market and says: “Give me Boss;” the shopkeeper takes out a compact disc and packs it in a black polythene bag. The customer pays Rs 50 and walks away.

This is how the piracy market works in the busy market… of course, silently.

Despite strict vigil, police attached to the Video Piracy Cell admit that many of the latest Tamil movies are available in pirated versions.

The Video Piracy cell has detained four persons under Goondas Act so far this year on piracy charges. Several thousands of pirated CDs and equipment used to generate them were also seized by special teams.

Sources in the VP cell said that producing a pirated CD is easy as the capital required is not high. The space needed for carrying out the process was also minimal. With a high speed broadband connection and several peer to peer websites offering downloads of full films, it is easy for video pirates to thrive. Once they possess a master copy recorded clandestinely from a cinema house or from other sources within or outside the country, they print as many copies as possible and sell them through their network.

An officer in the Central Crime Branch says that just as there are producers and distributors in the film industry, the piracy market also had its own hierarchy. Persons possessing the master copy are called “producers” in local parlance, while those who received the pirated CDs in smaller cities through agents are known as “dealers.”

The video piracy cell receives complaints from the music industry as well as cinema producers to on piracy. With the price of a blank CD as low as Rs 8, they sell the pirated discs to consumers for just Rs 50.

Police officers said pirated CDs are obtained from Malaysia or Singapore through “kuruvis” (carriers). Soon after the release of a movie simultaneously in India and abroad, the carriers fly abroad, pick up the CDs from their sources, and return.

Apart from expenses, the “kuruvis” are paid a fee for the job.

There is great demand for “foreign” prints as the quality of reproduction is good, sources in Burma Bazaar say. Explaining the modus operandi, sources said those in piracy trade have “connections” in Singapore, Malaysia and other countries.

Only when a movie raised high expectations among the fans would there be problems in getting the pirated CDs. Otherwise, it’s easy for the “kuruvis” to handle the operation.

Additional Commissioner of Police S.R.Jangid said the police sought the cooperation of the public in eliminating the piracy trade.