USIBC hopes ‘Slumdog…’ success will prompt India to act against piracy

January 23rd, 2009 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 23 (IANS) The US-India Business Council (USIBC) hopes that the success of “Slumdog Millionaire” will prompt Indian authorities to recognise the importance of protecting intellectual property and increase enforcement efforts against film and video pirates.The film’s success underscores linkages between creativity and the protection of intellectual property, said Ron Somers, president of the business advocacy organization representing 300 of the largest US companies investing in India.

An earlier study commissioned by USIBC as part of its Bollywood-Hollywood Initiative, found that India’s entertainment and media industry loses some 820,000 jobs and about $4 billion to piracy each year.

Concerned that these losses go largely unnoticed by the public, he said: “The fact that Slumdog Millionaire received four awards at the Golden Globes and 10 Oscar nominations has been widely reported. What’s not often reported is how harmful entertainment piracy is to India.”

“Let’s not lose sight of what that means for Indian filmmakers, actors and workers. Piracy translates directly into lost opportunities and lost jobs - and squandered creativity. Imagine how many ‘Slumdogs’ could be conceived, produced and premiered if only there were greater efforts to crackdown on film piracy,” he said.

“‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is just the latest example of the growing connection between Bollywood and Hollywood,” said Greg Kalbaugh, USIBC director and counsel, noting Indian media and entertainment industry is now an $11 billion juggernaut growing at a combined annual growth rate of over 18 percent.

The entertainment industries of the US and India are increasingly intertwined, but widespread piracy threatens industry in both countries, USIBC said suggesting that the US and Indian governments step-up enforcement efforts and empower law enforcement agencies.

“One way for the Indian government to do this would be to enact law regulating optical disc production. This will have a measurable effect on curbing piracy,” it said.

“We are hopeful that the release of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in India will renew the government’s commitment to this legislation and to ramping up enforcement efforts.”

USIBC’s Bollywood-Hollywood study was officially rolled out at the FICCI frames conference last year. This year, the US is the partner country for frames 2009

The USIBC is bringing to Mumbai on the occasion of FICCI frames’ 10th Anniversary a star-studded delegation led by Ben Silverman, co-chairman, NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studios, award-winning actor Danny Glover, and renowned television journalist/producer Charlie Rose.

A major theme for the delegation will be highlighting the importance of protecting creative content and intellectual property USIBC said.

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