Mumbai
30 March 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

Speakers call for India to unite against piracy


Speakers at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) FRAMES event in Mumbai last week called for government, industry and enforcement agencies to come together to fight piracy.

The three-day convention paid particular attention to the issue of piracy, with keynote speaker Rajiv Aggarwal, who is joint secretary in India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), saying all stakeholders need to come together and work towards changing the mindset of society by creating awareness about piracy’s ill effects.

He went on to say that intellectual property laws exist in India to fight piracy, but implementation of their powers is lacking.

To this end, technology could be leveraged to bring about meaningful and effective solutions with the help of copyright owners, Aggarwal added.

Anti-piracy campaigns are being carried out effectively in various Indian states, Aggarwal said, but stakeholders and the government need to find administrative measures to substantially reduce the problem of piracy.

One area where technology could help to fight piracy is online, according to Bharat Dube, CEO of Strategic IP Information (SIPI), an online brand and content monitoring company.

Dube discussed a study that Veri-site, a division of SIPI whose technology is approved by the US trade group the Trustworthy Accountability Group, produced for FICCI and the Motion Picture Association of America in January, which examined advertising on copyright infringing websites.

The study of the 1,143 most popular copyright infringing websites accessible in India revealed that the vast majority, 835, featured adverts that earn up to $200,000 for smaller sites and $4 million for larger sites annually.

Most surprisingly, according to Dube, the study found that 786 brands had adverts on these sites, with 54 percent being well-known or popular. They included Reuters and NDTV in the journalism space, and Alibaba Group in ecommerce.

Dube, who was global head of IP enforcement for the Swiss luxury goods conglomerate Richemont, said: “We must target advertising revenue. This can be achieved through pre-bid verification technology, which is inexpensive and effective, as well as post-verification remedies. The likes of Google, Facebook and others must allow auditors like ourselves to come in. As one commentator recently put it, these major players must discontinue marking their own homework.”

Awareness is also key, according to Dube. “Brands are usually surprised to see their adverts featured on rogue sites,” he said.

Veri-site found that the studied piracy advertising ecosystem utilised the services of 14 advertising agencies, 17 exchanges and 133 networks.

Of the 835 sites surveyed, Doubleclick and Adsense, which are both owned by Google, placed adverts on 560.

Dube added: “We need to help spread the message, which for the moment is US-centric, to Asia, starting with India. Companies should pledge to do everything possible to prevent their revenues from going to pirate sites.”

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