Indian OTTs might lose $3 bn to piracy this year as leaked content sites see 62 mn footfalls

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Indian OTTs might lose $3 bn to piracy this year as leaked content sites see 62 mn footfalls
Rajamouli's RRR was pirated way before it was releasedTwitter
  • Media platform Disney+Hotstar filed a first information report (FIR) at Bengaluru cyber cell against a few digital platforms indulging in piracy this week.
  • Disney+Hotstar is the latest victim in a long list of streaming platforms that have lost their revenues to piracy.
  • Last year, Zee Entertainment Enterprises had filed an official complaint, pertaining to the pirated version of the film ‘Radhe’ being circulated across messaging platforms, including WhatsApp and Telegram.
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There is something common between Rajamouli’s RRR, Yash starrer KGF: Chapter 2 and Salman Khan’s Radhe. They’re not just superhit movies, they were all pirated way ahead of their release.

The latest victim of this cybercrime is Disney+Hotstar. It has filed an FIR complaint against TamilMV, TamilBlasters, Tamilrockers, and application PikaShow TV for carrying leaked content on their platform.

“The cumulative traffic on these platforms is estimated at 62 million,” Santosh Ram, station house officer, cybercell, Bengaluru Police told Business Standard.

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It joins the long list of complaints and cases against piracy. Star, along with Viacom 18 Media Private, had also filed a case against android software aggregator Thop TV right before the ICC World Test Championship Final.

Thop TV is a rogue app that illegally provides access to films, shows and live sports on TV, as well as video-on-demand content, without consent from its producers. Its CEO was arrested last month in April 2022.

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After Radhe was leaked before its release on OTT platforms, Zee Entertainment Enterprises filed an FIR against it at the cyber branch. The movie was circulated across messaging platforms, including WhatsApp and Telegram.

Piracy, however, is not new to the industry. Since the dawn of professional film production, pirates have been looking for ways to make a few quick extra bucks. After the advent of the internet and social media, it has become easier to download, mirror and circulate content.

How vast is the sea of pirates?

OTT players have been paying millions to movie producers for exclusive rights – and without direct earnings from the releases, they stand to lose future subscribers.

A report by Deloitte India released earlier this year estimates that OTT platforms may record 20% growth to touch $13 billion–$15 billion over the next decade.

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However, these numbers could grow at a faster rate if piracy is out of the picture. According to a report by Digital TV Research, the loss of revenue for OTT players on account of piracy in India is expected to hit $3.08 billion by 2022.

India is expected to become one of the largest regions for online piracy this year, said Digital TV Research’s report.
Title: Top five countries to lose their revenues to online piracy in 2022 (in $ millions)
RankingCountryEstimated losses in 2022
1USA$11,583 mn
2China$9,778 mn
3India$3,078 mn
4Brazil$2,584 mn
5Mexico$1,576 mn
Source: Digital TV Research

The TV and film industries support millions of jobs, from set designers, makeup artists, and musicians to producers and directors — and piracy is eating out of their pockets.

As per a report by Akamai Technologies, a cybersecurity and cloud service company, Indian pirated websites saw 6.5 billion visits in 2021 and the country is ranked third in the world in accessing piracy websites. India has also earned the dubious distinction of ranking first in music piracy.

Fine and punishment for piracy in India
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Piracy is considered a criminal act across the world. In India, as per the Cinematograph Act of 2019, offenders could attract a three-year prison term and a fine of up to ₹3 lakh for viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of copyrighted content.

Content released on OTT platforms or television is protected by copyright. If the content is downloaded without the producer’s consent and circulated, it is a violation of the copyright act of 1957.

If an FIR is registered against the offender, the police officer is not required to obtain a warrant (or permission from the court). They can seize the offender’s property (computer or laptop).
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