Indian doc explores copyright views

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NEW DELHI, India -- The Motion Picture Association (MPA) unveiled an anti-piracy documentary Friday at the 37th India International Film Festival in the western coastal resort state of Goa.

The 30-minute doc titled "What's It To Me?: Creativity, Copyright and the People Who Care About Them (And Don't)" showcases the different points of view that students bring to a discussion about intellectual property rights.

The filmmakers asked university students in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore for their views on intellectual property rights and intellectual property theft, while also asking copyright owners such as Rakeysh Mehra (director of India's Oscar entry for foreign film "Rang de Basanti") and intellectual property rights experts such as University of Delhi law professor Dr. Raman Mittal for their perspectives.

The MPA-supported documentary posed questions such as "Does copyright have value for consumers?", "Is there any difference between stealing a DVD from a shop and downloading for free?", "What's the difference between intellectual property and physical property?" and "What's the future for the music and movie industries?"

In a statement, MPA senior vp and regional director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis said: "We found that Indian university students have the same views on the subject as their peers in Japan, New Zealand, China and the U.S. For the most part they have questions about copyright, and for the most part they don't understand the value of copyright to consumers. Most interestingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly to most of us in the industry, for the most part they believe that downloading copyrighted content without paying for it is wrong -- but they do it anyway."

New Delhi-based MPA India head of operations and legal counsel Chander M Lall added: "We must convince the public that it is ultimately in their own, and in society's, best interest to pay those who create intellectual property for access to that property."

According to MPA data, the Indian film industry suffers more due to piracy here than foreign films, which constitute only 20% of pirated goods.

According to Indian government estimates, the entertainment industry loses up to $35 million annually on account of piracy. Since 2004, the MPA has conducted close to 1,000 raids and seizure operations in India in cooperation with law enforcement authorities.

The documentary will be showcased during the ongoing India International Film Festival which opened Thursday with a screening of Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" and will conclude Dec. 3 with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel."
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