"Frankly, expecting the public to participate in the task of checking piracy is foolish."

There couldn’t be a bigger joke than this. Bollywood and Hollywood just recently joined hands under the aegis of a newly-formed organisation – Alliance Against Copyright Theft – to combat piracy that is killing both the industries. The AACT launched a special toll-free line (1800-103-1919) for members of the public to complain about any incident of piracy they may come across, beginning with this week’s release, I Hate Luv Storys (Review) . The irony is that the pirated DVDs of this film were out in the market on Thursday itself, a day before its theatrical release.

Frankly, expecting the public to participate in the task of checking piracy is foolish, especially because it is this very public which aids piracy by watching the latest Hindi films on pirated DVDs. It is strange that the six Hollywood studios (which are united under the umbrella of Motion Picture Distributors Association (India) Pvt. Ltd.) and four Bollywood studios viz. UTV, Eros International, Reliance Big Pictures and Moser Baer couldn’t see the futility of launching the toll-free line.

The AACT put forth the theory that the money earned by pirates is utilised for funding terrorist activities.
How exciting!

In a bid to compel the aam janata to co-operate, the AACT put forth the theory that the money earned by pirates is utilised for funding terrorist activities. How exciting! What did AACT think? That people would suddenly stop hiring or buying pirated DVDs because they wouldn’t want to be contributing to terrorism? Some wishful thinking, this.

It is half-hearted measures like these that prompt one to believe that nobody in the industry is serious about fighting the menace of piracy which is creating a big hole in the industry’s pockets. The impression one gets is that AACT just wanted to show it is doing something – and so it did something without any application of mind. What’s worse, the toll-free line was launched with almost nil promotion. So how was the public to know that it could lodge a complaint against pirates via the toll-free numbers? Or maybe, AACT itself didn’t believe in its half-baked measure and, therefore, thought of saving money by not spending on advertising for creating awareness about the scheme which could hope to succeed only if the public knew about it in the first place.

A sincere advice to Bollywood if it wants to give a tough fight to the pirates: forget AACT, just act! And enlist the support of the police rather than the public.

By Komal Nahta

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