The MPA opens shop in Bollywood

Joins with local distributors groups to protect Hollywood IPR

NEW DELHI -- The Motion Picture Association of America has opened its first office in India, in Bollywood, the Hollywood studio lobby group said Monday on the eve of India's biggest film industry event, FICCI Frames in Mumbai.

Following months of investment in Bollywood by its member studios, the MPA said that local industry group the Motion Picture Dist. Association (India) Pvt. Ltd "will serve as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries in India."

Headed by Rajiv Dalal, the MPDA India replaces the New Delhi-based law firm Lal and Sethi as the MPA's representative in India at at time when multiplex screens are expected to reach 907 by 2011, showing fivefold growth over five years, up from the 193 standing in India in 2006.

"With over 3 billion total admissions in 2007...our member studios have decided to participate towards this dynamic market by investing many millions of dollars into the Indian film and television industry," Dan Glickman, MPA chairman and CEO said in a statement. "Our new office will serve to promote, protect and expand their interests in India.”

The MPDA India will work with India's local film industries and the Indian government to ease market access restrictions and taxation and enforce intellectual property rights.

"Given the current economic climate, it is even more imperative for us to build on our anti-piracy efforts in association with the local industry and government authorities," MPA Asia director Mike Ellis said in an interview.

A 2008 U.S. India Business Council report estimated that the Indian film industry lost $959 million and 571,896 jobs due to the effects of movie piracy.  The period over which the losses were sustained was not immediately clear.

Ellis added that in light of the Hollywood studios' recent investments in the Indian film industry, “this is an opportune time to further enhance relations since we are in the same game together.”

FICCI Frames runs from Tuesday through Thursday,