US lawmakers alerted to India’s $4 bn loss in showbiz piracy

April 22nd, 2008 - 12:38 pm ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 22 (IANS) India’s $4 billion a year loss in entertainment industry piracy was in focus on Capitol Hill with Indian filmmaker Bobby Bedi alerting US lawmakers to the serious problem facing the developing world. Bedi warned members of the US Congress about the massive problems of piracy and counterfeiting plaguing the entertainment industries in India and other developing countries at a special event leading up to World Intellectual Property Day April 26.

His warning came in response to a recent study released by Ernst & Young stating that piracy and counterfeiting cost the Indian entertainment industry more than $4 billion a year representing almost 40 percent of their potential annual revenue.

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world with more than 1,000 films produced each year.

Democratic Representative Diane Watson, chair of the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus, noted the rampant piracy problems facing filmmakers like Bedi.

“On World Intellectual Property Day we recognise the talent of creators around the globe who enrich our lives with their artistry and innovation.

“Tonight we hear the story of one filmmaker who has made a tremendous contribution to India’s burgeoning entertainment industry. He represents one of the thousands of filmmakers around the world who are victims of piracy.”

Congressional Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus Co-Chair Robert Wexler (Democrat) also called for efforts to combat piracy here in the US and abroad.

Michael P. Ryan, director of the Creative and Innovative Economy at the George Washington Law School, remarked, “Originality and innovation are essential to driving long-term growth in developing economies.”

He said piracy creates a real dilemma for filmmakers like Bedi and curtails their imagination. “So long as pirates earn a high share of movie revenues, producers must focus on making relatively inexpensive movies.

“To finance a grander vision, the creators must receive not just the critical but also the monetary rewards of inventiveness.”

Critically acclaimed for his work on films including “Bandit Queen” and “Fire”, Bedi is currently producing a three-film series on the Indian epic Mahabharata. At an estimated cost of $70 million, it will be India’s most expensive movie venture ever. A television programme, entertainment software, and a merchandising campaign also are planned.

The George Washington University Law School’s Creative and Innovative Economy Centre organised the event. It believes creativity and innovation are critical tools in fighting the war on poverty, eradicating disease, and improving the quality of human life through the arts and technology, the centre said.

Its faculty conduct research and organise educational programmes that demonstrate how creativity and innovation drive global economic development and contribute to advancements in healthcare.

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