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Cops taught to fight music piracy

- The city records the highest number of music piracy complaints in the country

- Around 75 per cent of the cassettes and CDs sold here are pirated

- There has not been a single case of conviction for copyright violation in Calcutta

Such startling facts were revealed by Indian Music Industry (IMI) officials in Calcutta during a press meet on Saturday. Piracy has resulted in a loss of over Rs 1,800 crore to the industry in the past three years. To put an end to the bane, the apex body of the music industry — a consortium of over 50 companies — organised a copyright workshop for the city police.

“We need help from the police as well as the public to stop piracy. The workshop was organised to sensitise the enforcement agencies on the issue of copyright protection. This is our fifth workshop after sessions in Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Chennai,” said J. F. Ribeiro, who heads the IMI’s anti-piracy operations.

Waging a war against music pirates, Ribeiro, former commissioner of police, Mumbai, and director-general of police, Punjab, said his team would take the fight to all major cities.

If piracy is the music industry’s biggest woe, other worries include value-added tax (VAT), judicial leniency and the absence of an optical disc regulation. “Judicial leniency is the most important factor that has contributed to piracy. Pirates are seldom convicted and, in most cases, they get away with a penalty of Rs 500. But the loss they cause to the industry is huge,” said Savio D’Souza, secretary general, IMI.

According to data available with IMI, out of the 5,247 criminal cases recorded by the association throughout the country in the past four years, only 253 cases ended in conviction. D’Souza, however, lauded the efforts of the police in carrying out regular raids against the pirates.

“Almost all major music companies have been registering losses. If this continues, our music industry will be wiped out,” he added.

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