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Internet-mobile association sets up panel to combat online piracy

Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has constituted a working group as part of its efforts to fight online piracy and developing business standards and best practices for the digital entertainment industry.

The committee will be chaired by Ajit Mohan of Hotstar and co-chaired by Uday Sodhi of SET India and Salil Kapoor of HOOQ.

Other member companies are: Star Plus, Digivive, Radio Mirchi, Shemaroo, Viacom 18, Netflix, Arre, Eros, among others.

The mandate of the group is to safeguard the interest of the digital entertainment businesses, IAMAI said in a statement. “The ultimate objective is to create a self regulatory code of conduct, create drafts for standards and good business practices, create public awareness measures to minimise online piracy and help with regulatory and legal interventions as and when required,” it added. These issues are holding the industry back from realising its true potential as piracy has a direct impact on the revenues of the online video platforms, it said.

IAMAI said banning specific URLs of “rogue websites” is not an adequate measure to stop piracy since it is easy to change URLs. At the same time, blocking of the entire website will lead to blocking of legitimate content.

“Online Video Platforms (OVP) are soft targets and most vulnerable in the whole scheme of things as there are no specific laws regulating online content and they are subject to multiple criminal and civil laws,” the statement said. Unlike TV or Radio, the OVP industry is forced to pay usurious royalties. Currently, there is no system of regulation except OVPs own internal checks and balances to ensure compliance with the myriad number of laws, it added.

“Statutory license provisions relating to copyrighted works which gives companies access to the content and provide additional protections against signal theft, circumvention of technological protection measures, and online copyright piracy are points to be taken up by the working group,” it said.
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