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Bollywood Calls for Tougher Anti-Piracy Policies

The film industry's trade group is asking for a crackdown on vendors who sell pirated DVDs and other media at train stations

Fed up with the Maharashtra government's inaction, Bollywood is now taking up the matter of piracy with the central government and has written to Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, urging him to take corrective action.

As those selling pirated DVDs, VCDs and CDs of movies and music generally do their business in the premises of railway stations, the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA) has urged Lalu to instruct the general managers of various railway divisions to take action against these vendors.

A news agency has a copy of the IMPPA letter.

"The film industry contributes so much to the state exchequer, so we hope that the government will do something about it. The pirates are eating into our legitimate revenues," said T P Aggarwal, president of IMPPA.

Bollywood producers regret that in spite of repeated assurances given by state Home Minister R R Patil, the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities ACT (MPDAA) has not yet been implemented despite knowing that Mumbai is the hub of piracy.

Bollywood generates approximately Rs 600 crore every year, but 20 percent of this is pocketed by pirates.

While the film industry is crying itself hoarse over pirates filching its legitimate earnings, vendors are having a field day by openly selling copies of recent releases at public places, like railway stations and bus depots.

The authorities, mainly the police department, aren't taking any action against these vendors.

When contacted, A Mohite, deputy commissioner of police in the social service wing of Mumbai Police, told reporters that it was the job of the police stations to seize pirated goods from vendors.

"But due to manpower shortage, the local police stations are not in a position to do their duty effectively. However, whenever they get a clue of the manufacturing units where the movies and music are being duplicated, they raid those premises and bring the culprits to book," said Mohite.

Taking full advantage of the constraints of Mumbai Police, the dealers and vendors reap a good harvest in broad daylight, day in and day out.

People shopping the pirated VCDs and DVDs are least bothered whether the goods they buy are being sold illegally, so long as the picture quality is good and the rates are cheap. Many have never even heard of copyright laws.

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