Government gets proactive in curbing video piracy

July 14th, 2009 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Ambika Soni New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) With video piracy hitting India’s film industry hard, the government Tuesday said it has taken a slew of steps to curb the menace, including reduction of entertainment tax and promotion of digital theatres.
State governments have been requested to reduce entertainment tax rates, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told the Lok Sabha, th lower house of parliament.

The state governments have lowered entertainment tax rates consistently from a peak rate of 70 percent to 50 percent over the years to help attract viewers to cinema theatres and to reduce the market for pirated videos, Soni said.

The Indian film industry has stepped up its fight against film piracy both at home and overseas. According to a recent study, India’s entertainment industry loses $4 billion, and 800,000 jobs a year due to piracy.

To encourage the setting up of digital cinema theatres, the government has accorded the import of digital cinema projectors the status of ‘project imports’. The customs duty for these imports was reduced to five percent in the 2008-2009 budget.

“The information and broadcasting ministry has formed a core group to suggest measures to combat piracy of films. Action on the recommendations of the Core Group is being taken to curb piracy,” Soni said.

The ministry has requested the chief secretaries of all states to advise district magistrates and superintendents of police to include anti-piracy measures in their monthly activity reports, Soni said.

To curb piracy, the Cable Television Network Regulation Act has been amended to prohibit a cable operator from transmitting or re-transmitting any programme or channel for which the copyright holder has not granted him a licence.

Besides these measures, the government has initiated awareness raising programmes through seminars and workshops.

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