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Now, a musical threat from Pak

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Oct. 15

A FRESH row seems to be brewing between India and Pakistan. This time around, the problem is due to a discordant note on the music industry front.

The threat from Pakistan and other similar factors have resulted in a whopping drain of revenues to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore in three years. The music piracy is estimated to be in the range of 40-50 per cent.

Mr J.F. Riberio, former Director-General of Police (DGP) of Punjab and Chief Coordinator (Intellectual Property Rights) for the Indian music industry, said there are eight CD manufacturing companies in Karachi, whose combined capacity is ten times more than that country required.

Piracy has killed the music industry there. The Indian industry, too, is facing a major threat with some unscrupulous and selfish elements supplying master CDs to piracy operators, who, in turn, manufacture millions of copies.

"These are being sold in the US, European Union, Australia and Fiji, cutting into the share of Indian companies," he said.

He said underworld rings and terrorist organisations too have joined the piracy activity, as the margins are quite high in this area.

Mr V.J. Lazurus, President of Indian Music Industry, said global sales of physical pirate recordings totalled at $4.6 billion in 2002, a growth of 7 per cent over previous year. This, however, is valued at pirate prices.

"Actual losses to the legitimate recording industry are significantly greater," he said.

The fact is that global sales of pirate CDs has doubled between 1999 and 2000 from 510 million to 1.1 billion units.

"While we stand fifth in the global music sales ranking at 181.1 million (excluding pirated ones), we are ranked 18 revenue wise, piracy being the major contributor for the mismatch between the rankings in volumes and revenues," he said.

Mr Bijesh Thakker, Managing Partner of Thakker and Thakker, called for specialised tribunals to look into the IPR issues and expansion of IP Protection cells at all levels.

Stating that Indian laws in this regard are advanced and in compliance with international laws, he said a specific regulation is needed to check against digital piracy.

Mr Suresh Babu, President of the Telugu Film Producers Council, said punishments should be made stringent. "Nothing deters more than fear does," he said.

He said the council has tied up with NALSAR to study the issue of copyrights infringement and suggest measures, paving the way for setting up an enforcement body.

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