Online Piracy, A matter of great concern, As Discussed during the India-US CEO Forum

The second visit of President Barack Obama to India, the first US President to have visited India twice while in office, clearly highlights the global partnership between the two nations in the task of strengthening economies and strong democracies. Referring to said partnership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the partnership assumes great relevance in the digital age.

In this age of modern digital technology, an issue that has been nagging the industrial sector, particularly the Entertainment Industry, is online movie piracy. The Motion Picture Association (MPA), in its latest report on movie piracy, has listed India as one among the top 10 countries where online piracy is at its peak. One may not say that India is a box-office goldmine for Hollywood but that the total market share of Hollywood movies from India is only 10%. That being said, the growing popularity for its movies and TV shows makes India a very important market for Hollywood. Perhaps this was the reason why issues related with Intellectual Property Rights, including piracy of films and software were brought up during the India-US CEO Forum in New Delhi which was attended by US President Barack Obama and Indian PM Narendra Modi.

During the meet, the issue of film piracy was raised by Walt Disney CEO, Bob Iger. Though there are provisions in place in the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Indian Penal Code, that address the issues of software and movie piracy, their implementation has not yet been successful. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, expressed his opinion on online piracy as a matter of great concern that needs to be looked into. The same opinion was shared by PM, Narendra Modi who acknowledged that there is piracy both in software as well as in films and that it has to be tackled with strong legal action.

Other concerns on IPR related matters that were discussed during the meet were increasing cooperation and collaboration between India and US in renewable energy, smart cities and healthcare.

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