Filmmakers nowadays have to spend money and efforts not only on the films promotions before a release, they also have to ensure that all the requisite safeguards are in place to ensure any pirated copy of their film does not get uploaded on the internet.
Cyber security experts are in great demand everywhere, and now major production houses have started employing their services to combat piracy. However these services are being used only for big budget movies as of now.
The film industry loses lot of money to piracy every year, and for some time now the industry has been looking for effective methods to deal with it.
For most studios, after a movie finishes its run in multiplexes and theatres, signing exclusive contracts with leading streaming services including Netflix and Amazon is a major revenue earner, so its even more important that a pirated version is not leaked online.
That is why big-budget movies and production houses have increased their budget for anti-piracy measures, and are even hiring cyber-security firms.
The main job of these cyber-security firms is to check if any leaked version has made its way to the internet (many use artificial intelligence-based anti-piracy services), and if it has, they raise a flag, after which the production house takes appropriate steps (filing a police case, moving court against the offending websites).
For movies (or online content) to be successful these days, it is extremely important to pull down the content as soon as it is flagged for piracy.
“We have been working with a few cyber-security companies to see if any such content is leaked online, which can then be identified immediately and the issue can be raised with the publisher and copyright owners,” , chief marketing officer of EROS International (producer and distributor of Indian films).
Its common for production houses to hire cyber-security experts for a minimum of two weeks, when the maximum box office collection is usually generated. However, for music videos and content that made available on streaming services (OTT), the contract could even go up to a year.
“The starting price is around Rs 4-5 lakh, but if a movie has superstars in lead roles, the price shoots up by 20-30% because the risks for these leaks are higher.”
However, despite taking the help of cyber-security companies, fighting online piracy is not as easy as it looks. Mainly because the websites keep changing their IP addresses and URLs, making it harder to track them down.
Moreover, fighting piracy requires strategic measures (policies, collaboration among various entities, etc) as well as tactical measures (immediate measures such as raising flags).
“On the strategic front, the content owners across genres need to come together and fight the menace since every property across genres is at risk.”
It’s only recently that big production houses in India have started taking tactical measures. But its the strategic measures that is lacking in India (compared to what is being done globally and in Hollywood) and where India has a lot of catching up to do.
However, the Indian government, realizing the seriousness of the problem, plans to introduce an anti-camcording provision in the Cinematography Act to combat film privacy.
Mumbai cyber police arrest theatre owners for online leak
The Mumbai Cyber Police had arrested owner (Father and son duo) of a theatre based in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh for allegedly leaking the movie ‘Force 2’ online.
Producers Viacom 18 had lodged a criminal complaint against film distribution company ‘K Sera Sera Digital Cinema Ltd’ for leaking John Abraham and Sonakshi Sinha starrer Force 2. An FIR was registered under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and Information Technology act.
The film was leaked on the same day online (was available on extratorrent.unblockall.xyz, youtube.com, zippymoviez.ch, openload.co, hideoxy.com) and the producers came to know about the leak through their well-wishers on the same day. The online leak resulted in considerable losses to Viacom 18.
Police investigation led them to the Gwalio based theatre owner and his son (the duo also run a catering business in Gwalior). The cops found a watermark, which led them to the culprits.
Bollywood producer goes all out against torrent sites to stop piracy of his upcoming film
An independent Bollywood producer is taking all the efforts to ensure his upcoming film doesn’t get leaked. Says every penny matters to him.
Producers of Swara Bhaskar’s Anaarkali have obtained a special directive from Madras High Court to prevent the film’s piracy. The anti-piracy John Doe order from Madras High Court will restrain almost 1800 torrent and other websites (almost covers 95 per cent of the piracy spectrum) from downloading the film. The producers will also keep a watch on the remaining sites that are not covered by the order.
In order to ensure a movie is not pirated on the day of the release (as it happened in the case of Dangal, which was available on Facebook (link) and YouTube right on the day of release), producers are hiring software engineers to ensure such incidents are reported and the offending sites blocked immediately.
While its really commendable that a film producer is taking all the efforts to ensure people watch his movie only in theatres, isn’t this the job of the police (cyber cell)?