The new policy is clearly informed by conservative pro-Intellectual Property (IP) ideology; yes, we are talking about the Tamil Nadu Government’s recent development on re-designating Video Piracy Cell as “Intellectual Property(IP) Right Enforcement Cell”. It is a first of its kind policy for the State of Tamil Nadu, where the policy covers all forms of Intellectual Property (IP) and that too in a single framework. Though it was long overdue, it’s a big step towards curbing piracy, especially for the Tamil movie industry.

As assured by the Central Government earlier, this policy is pro-protecting the rights of music and film industry. The said policy follows a completely new set of principles that are tilted in favor of IP owners and possessors in every possible way. The principles laid down in the policy incentivizes the IP owners by granting them monopoly rights over their IP. The said policy rewards a big investment by paying attention to the balance to be established vis-à-vis public interest and development.

As mentioned, the policy has placed all the IP rights under one roof and the said policy includes Copyright, Tamil Nadu Exhibition of Films on Television Screen through Video, Cassette Recorders and Cable Television Network (Regulation), Cable Television Networks (Regulation),Cinematograph Rights, Trade Marks, Designs, Patents, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection), Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights, Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design and Biological Diversity.  The policy further states that “If any legal opinion is required for enforcement of above-mentioned acts, that may be sent to the Superintendent of Police, Intellectual Property Right Enforcement Cell (IPREC), who in turn will get a legal opinion from the legal advisor and send it to the unit”. The policy portrays that the Government is trying to take steps towards infringers by abolishing piracy in State and this Policy can be efficiently carried out. Though the policy seems to be leaning towards the film industry it does have a fair share of other areas of IP law taken care of.

In my opinion this policy is a sort of breather for the Tamil movie industry which is in a beleaguered state. The Tamil film industry which provides entertainment, employment, and livelihood to millions of people throughout the world is already going through turmoil due to GST and additional taxes (by the State Government) and the movie piracy worsens the situation even more. Online websites such as tamilgun, yts.ag, piratebay etc. have not only damaged the film industry but also the Central and State Governments are losing revenue of about 1200 Crores of Rupees per annum. The Tamil film industry which is producing about 150 films in a year is losing crores of rupees due to the rampant video piracy. The Government also needs to understand that the public are leaning more towards piracy because of easy access and the availably of movies at cheap rates or sometimes free of cost. The Government should also communicate with public by conducting various workshops to create awareness about the ramifications of their actions which would also be another effective way to curb such piracy. Perhaps there are other effective ways? Do let us know if you think of some.

 

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