The show goes on despite police raids

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Raids conducted in quick succession in Thanjavur and Kumbakonam in mid-March led to a haul of over 50,000 pirated CDs, most of them of latest Tamil movies.

Acting on specific information on circulation of pirated CDs, law enforcers carried out the anti-piracy operations in music and video shops in the two towns within a week.

The raid in a musical shop at Thanjavur town and subsequently in a godown by sleuths of the Video Piracy Cell (VPC), Tiruchi unit, resulted in the seizure of over 20,000 pirated CDs, a computer and memory cards, besides wrappers, while the crackdown by the Thanjavur district police on three video shops in Kumbakonam led to confiscation of more than 35,000 pirated CDs.

The police arrested nine persons in connection with the seizures and got them remanded in judicial custody. The seizures were the highest in the recent times in that district, according to the police.

Although the law enforcers have been acting tough, their challenge in containing piracy remains as the recent seizures indicate.

Encompassing Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts, the VPC of Tiruchi unit seized 1.88 lakh pirated CDs estimated at market value of Rs. 90 lakh in 2012 and arrested 273 persons with maximum seizures effected in Tiruchi and Thanjavur.

Police say thousands of prints are taken at the local level from the master CD sent from Chennai and Karaikal through different modes, including parcel service and even courier.

Technology has kept the piracy problem alive; those involved in the shady business use the internet to download movies the very day after its release, say police sources.

Movies are downloaded in a memory card, pen drive, and zip and given to “trusted” customers. In the backdrop of rising ticket rates, many opt for pirated compact disc or digital video disc sold at a very cheap rate in the grey market to watch the movie instead of going to cinemas, say those associated with the film fraternity.

As compared to other southern States, the circulation of pirated CDs in Tamil Nadu is high owing to the well-entrenched network, says S. Sridhar, joint secretary, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association.

With foreign rights being given to Tamil films, the pirated versions are taken abroad days before the release of the movie and sent to India through air and distributed at the local level. The master CDs land in Chennai mostly from Singapore and Malaysia. It is now possible to make eight lakh pirated copies using one mother CD within an hour, says Mr. Sridhar.

Piracy is difficult to be eradicated despite periodic drives, acknowledge police officials. Nevertheless, a strong will on the part of the government and strict enforcement can definitely check piracy, say those associated with the film industry.

R. RAJARAM finds that even strict enforcement of anti-piracy laws does not deter the racketeers




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