Jan 30 2014

Why are people brave enough to do music piracy?

An imprisonment of 6 months which may extend up to 3 years or a fine of INR 50000 to INR 2lakhs or both. These are the  punishments, in India, for any act of piracy under the Section 63(b) in The Copyright Act, 1957. Though the laws and punishments against piracy are severe, why do people still get involved in this illegal act of music piracy? The main reasons are the vast market demand for pirated music and the large amount of money one can earn by tapping into these illegal market opportunities.

A person, at first, may get into piracy due to lack of job opportunities or just to feed his stomach. Initially, there might be some fear of getting caught & facing severe punishment. But once he starts making few bucks he soon finds out that pirating music can bring in great profits much more than what he could have earned by working. Soon, all those fears no longer exist and the love for money covers his eyes as he looks to grow bigger in pirating music and expanding his territory.

The methods for pirating music are vast in today’s world. Though new technologies are enforced by the IMI and the Govt. people who pirate music come up with new ways to illegally spread music. There is not much assistance from the private sectors either.

Let’s take Google for example. Google made a pledge to help the IFPI in combating piracy. Google said it would take into account how many copyright infringement notices a website had received when determining its ranking in search results and make it appear lower in the search results. This ranking change would help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily. However, an initial analysis by the IFPI stated that Google’s pledge remained unfulfilled.Searches for popular music continued to yield results that emphasize illegal sites at the expense of legitimate services, which are often relegated to later pages. And Google’s auto-complete function continues to lead users to many of those same illicit sites. Google could have removed these links immediately when they received removal notices but they are not ready to remove the illegal links. Even on YouTube, if a video gets removal notice, Google does not remove these videos, they instead get permission to post advertisements on these illegal videos to generate more money. Is it legal, which Google says is legal? In my opinion Google is assisting Piracy in these ways, not combating them.

Also the punishments are not severe for those people who are involved in this Piracy business on a large scale. A fine of INR 2lakhs and an imprisonment of 3years may affect a person who is making INR5000-6000 per day through piracy. But how does it affect a person who makes INR 1crore to 2 crores per month!!! He would pay a fine of 2lakhs easily and even after 3years of imprisonment he would come back and do the same business since the money involved is huge.

As the saying goes “behind every corrupt man there is a greedy family”, The Govt. and the IMI should come up with new ideas to figure out how much a person has earned through sales of illegal music and make sure they confiscate the money fully and not let his family enjoy the black money, while he is spending his days in the prison, so that it does not encourage a person to come back and do the same thing again.IMI and Govt. should also consider few people who are presently promoting piracy for their daily living and help them become legal vendors at low expenses.

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