Jan 31 2014

Mobile Music Xchange Vulnerabilities

Mobile Music Exchange (MMX) is a brand belonging to Mobile Media Private Ltd. It is the exclusive assignees of copyrights for sound recordings providing legitimate music to millions of mobile phone users in India. MMX sells around 840 licenses annually, costing between Rs18,000 and Rs60,000 per license per year depending on the type and location of the shop. The MMX licenses can also be taken for a period of one to three years and ranges from Rs.1,500 to Rs.5,000 per month per computer. This enables license holders to sell music downloads legally, and the price to customer is set by the retailer.

If a shopkeeper sells music without getting a license from the MMX, he is doing so by illegal means. If caught, he can face imprisonment upto to 3yrs and a fine upto to INR 2lakhs. But still shopkeepers, unregistered with the MMX, around the country are selling music illegally. Why is this so?

The main problem is that, MMX is limited to 3 states – Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal, leaving other states vulnerable to piracy.  Also, shopkeepers, who don’t pay for the license, sell downloads at a much lower cost. In the grey market, a consumer can access a song for barely INR5 and gets a 1 GB download on his mobile phone for Rs150. That cost of the songs increase drastically when he purchases it from a legal vendor. The customer does not care if the product is licensed or not long as he can get music at a cheaper cost. And licensed vendors cannot compete with the black market in terms of pricing since that would result in a loss.

Mobile chip piracy is costing around INR 200 crores to the music industry in India. In our opinion, MMX is a good initiative, but considering a country with crores of piracy businesses 840 licenses annually is not a good number. More powerful concepts like Creating Piracy Pattern Tree (CPPT) are required to overcome the practical piracy scenarios in India.

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