Indian pirate earns 7-month stretch


NEW DELHI -- A Mumbai court has jailed a movie pirate for seven months and fined him 55,000 rupees ($1,250) following a case filed by the Motion Picture Assn.

According to a statement released Thursday by the MPA, the court ruling was delivered Feb. 20 and found Sameer Ahmed Qureshi, a Mumbai-based wholesaler of pirated movies, guilty under the Indian Copyright Act.

Qureshi was arrested Oct. 27, 2005 by Mumbai police, who acted on information provided by the MPA and seized several thousand pirated DVDs including such titles as "Fantastic 4," "Rush Hour," "Troy" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

Said the MPA's New Delhi-based India legal counsel Chander M. Lall: "The sentence handed down by the court marked only the sixth movie piracy conviction in India. While we are encouraged by the increased recognition the courts are giving to intellectual property theft, there are at the moment more than 2,000 additional movie piracy cases working their way through the judicial system. It is our hope that more resources will be allocated to intellectual property crimes, which so badly damage India's economy and society."

According to Indian government estimates, the entertainment industry loses up to $35 million annually to piracy.

The MPA studios lost $6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005, of which approximately $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region. Piracy in the U.S. accounted for another $1.3 billion.

In 2006, the MPA's operations in the Asia-Pacific region investigated more than 30,000 cases of piracy and assisted law enforcement officials in conducting nearly 12,400 raids. These activities resulted in the seizure of more than 35 million illegal optical discs, 50 factory optical disc production lines and 4,500 optical disc burners, as well as the initiation of more than 11,000 legal actions.