Thursday, December 14, 2006

Some Thoughts On Movie Piracy


Last few days we saw a lot of drama in Kerala about anti piracy raids conducted by Kerala Police. The main actors in the drama were Kerala Chief Minister, Home Minister, DIG and 2 Inspector Generals of Kerala Police. But do these political dramas and raids put an end to piracy?

Now most of the Indian movies are available in Internet. For example I watched the latest Malayalam super hit movie “Classmates” online. It is there as five parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). Any one having a broadband connection can watch it without downloading anything. What raid is going to stop this? Then there are peer-to-peer websites (1,2,3) where you can download almost any Indian movie ever released.

Same is the case with film music. The day the music is released you get that online. In this age of wireless Internet, most people prefer to listen to music online rather than taking pains to buy it.

Let me come to the point - I am no way justifying any one downloading the movies and watching (I have seen a lot like this). That is wrong but why does piracy happen at the first place?

I feel the Indian movie industry has not changed with time. They are still trying to follow the business model developed few decades ago, which is completely outdated.

When the music piracy was at its peak in US, along with strict laws, most American music companies allowed people to legally download music for small fees. Why can’t we do the same for Indian movies and music? This will reduce piracy to a certain extent especially amongst NRI’s.

Next comes decent price, if some one can download music/ movies with high quality and decent price, most people would prefer that. I stress decent price because most of the time the original CDs are highly over priced. Most of the Indian music CD’s you get in the US are priced around $20. Who is going to pay $20 for 6 to 8 songs? He will prefer to download his favorite songs from some website or hear online. If the same CD was sold for say $5, many may buy it.

I remember something worth mentioning about piracy. I think this happened few months back. Indian cricket team was touring West Indies and Willow TV was streaming the 6 match one-day series for $200! Before this series they were streaming the matches for a reasonable amount and we all bought Willow TV. When they increased the price of 6 matches to $200 all of us went to the pirated streaming which cost us only $10 per match. If Willow TV had streamed the match at a reasonable rate all of us could have subscribed to it.

Another reason why piracy of movies is so rampant in India – rising cost of movie tickets. About 15 years back a balcony ticket for a movie in Kerala would cost something around Rs.10. Now it costs around Rs.50. So for a family of four to watch a movie it would cost about Rs.200. Most Indian families cannot afford to spend Rs.200 for a movie. Instead they borrow a CD for Rs.10 and watch it. So what is the solution for such a situation?

Obviously solution is to reduce the price of the movie ticket. But how can we reduce the price of movie tickets when production cost of movies increases? Wait a minute and think why production cost went up in the last decade? Main reason is that all major stars of Indian movies increased their rates exponentially in the last decade. The income of common man never increased even at one-tenth of that rate. The net result being - common man cannot afford a movie ticket and preferred pirated CDs/Cassettes.

The point I would like to make here is, we need to overall change the culture of filmmaking and distribution in order to curb piracy. The actions by police and other agencies can only help to destroy few drops from an ocean of movie piracy going on.


MOVIE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO CHANGE TO STOP PIRACY
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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool thoughts!!.. But the arguments and observations were too much twisted for this humble soul to follow!!
-gibs

December 14, 2006 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree. But like gibs mentioned above, I kind of lost track in between, and all of a sudden, it just ended.

But yes, all this drama only makes news for two days. Then it is promptly forgotten, like everything else.

Anjana.

December 14, 2006 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with star rates increasing exponentially and with the need for movie industry to do something more constructive in its approach to piracy.

But I must also mention that people are out to get whatever they can for 'free' or at lowest price. The lowest prices don't always match up with production. A cd for $20 is over the top, but at $10, it will cover production cost and give some profit to producer. But what happens is that store owners themselve copy and sell CDs for $5. When you are dealing with a lot of dishonest people that are out to get a quick buck, control is very hard.

The sheer size of Hollywood belittles its loss in piracy. Actually, they lose money in mns/bns due to piracy.

-kajan

December 14, 2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger Sasi Kumar said...

interesting

December 15, 2006 4:51 PM  
Anonymous sarath said...

Regarding the movie ticket prices, I think Kerala is way better than many other places like Bangalore/Chennai where I hear my friends paying Rs.150 or so to watch some movie!!! Maybe its a place of working professionals who can afford it, but I still think its too much.

According to me,atleast in Kerala or among Keralites anywhere, its not always the price of the ticket which makes them see it in pirated CD.
Its the mentality of the people, they don't think using pirated CD is actually wrong. I buy original Audio CD's and many of my friends look at me and ask 'Isn't there free mp3 to download?' For most of them its just the same product available for free. Unless people cultivate the mentality that 'piracy' is actually wrong, I don't think it will really change however cheap the original is.
How many malayalees came to see the 'Classmates' movie in Tempe Cinemas? I know few who still preferred to watch the free downloaded pirated ones even after knowing that its going to be released in Tempe cinemas and I don't think $10 is unaffordable to any of them.

Regarding audio CD's, actually ORIGINAL AUDIO CD'S are available online for $4 - $6, I know its original because I bought it. Try www.nehaflix.com . Its very affordable to all the NRI's but still people don't care about it.

December 17, 2006 2:09 AM  
Anonymous sarath said...

I would like to one more point here.

What is the financial status of a person who sees the movie in a pirated copy? He must either have a dvd/cd player with a TV at home or a PC at home. A person who can afford to have either one of those two can definitely afford to spend Rs.200 or so once in a while to watch a good movie in the theatre. Whereas, someone who is not able to afford the ticket price can definitely not afford the initial investment of buying a PC or TV with player either. So the argument of higher ticket prices is not very strong.
So, I believe its the mentality of the people towards piracy which is the key, as I mentioned in my previous post.

December 17, 2006 3:54 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Gibs
I was just expressing my thoughts on movie piracy. May be I haven’t organized it properly.

Anjana-
This fuss about raid and all will die soon.

Kajan-
I have seen such thing happening here in Phoenix

Sasikumar-
Welcome to my blog.

Sharat
You are right- ticket prices are less in Kerala.

In Tempe I have seen only 2 persons who take pain to buy original audio CDs and 1 is you. Keep the good work.
Your are right- it is the mentality that has to change.

December 27, 2006 11:41 PM  
Blogger tpraja said...

Have you seen the new India search engine www.ByIndia.com they added all the cool features of popular products like MySpace, YouTube, Ebay, Craigslist, etc. all for free to use and specifically for India. Anyone else try this yet?

ByIndia.com First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.

January 03, 2007 1:37 PM  
Blogger Woke said...

Vellayani paramu,
Nice blog.

As you said, offering movies/songs online at a cheaper price seems to be a viable solution.

W

January 10, 2007 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Customers, when they have choices will pay for a product for what he thinks it is worth. Blank CDs are dirt cheap now a days. A video store owner can buy a original VCD movie and make copies and sell it to you for Rs.40 and still make a profit. The quality may be a little less but acceptable to lot of people.
So unless a distributor comes up with a brilliant idea of making original VCDs for Rs.50 and flood the market, piracy is going to continue. With current VCD prices, people who buy the pirated versions, obviously do not think it is worth the money. It has nothing got to do with piracy being right or wrong. Philosophically speaking, what is right or wrong is based on your perspective.

May 26, 2007 9:16 PM  
Blogger sleeper said...

The common man is making more money now than he did before..so in reality kerala needs to increase ticket prices with better facilities

October 05, 2009 3:06 AM  

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