Stakeholders must address video piracy: HC

The court said the meeting must be convened in two weeks.

The court said the meeting must be convened in two weeks.

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the State Home Secretary to convene a joint meeting of Tamil Nadu Film Producers’ Council as well as associations of film distributors and exhibitors, apart from all other stakeholders, to find a solution to the menace of video recording of movies inside cinema theatres.

Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana ordered that the meeting, to be attended by the Director General of Police too, should be convened within two weeks and the outcome must be reported to the court by November 28. The orders were passed on a writ petition filed by the Film Exhibitors Association of Tiruchi and Thanjavur areas.

The petitioner’s counsel M. Ravi had sought for a direction to the police to desist from arresting members of the association in every other case of video piracy without there being any material to suspect the involvement or connivance of theatre owners in filming of the movies at the time of screening in their theatres.

“These days, it is easy for anyone in the audience to record a movie either with their mobile phones or even with spy cameras on their pens. It will not be possible to prevent people from carrying mobile phones into the theatres and the owners cannot be prosecuted for an offence committed by someone in the audience,” he argued.

However, the judge pointed out that it was for the stakeholders to come up with a solution to the problem. She wondered why the theatre owners could not frisk the cinemagoers and confiscate video recording instruments when they were able to prevent carrying of outside food into the theatres with much vigour.

Agreeing that a solution to the larger problem could be found only through discussions, the counsel said, arrest of theatre owners was unwarranted. Relying upon a 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar’s case, he contended that the police could not resort to arrest as a matter of course without any necessity.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 7:59:37 am |