Piracy, digital on Glickman's Indian agenda


India is making strides in the battle against piracy and compares favorably with neighbor China, MPA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman told The Hollywood Reporter here Monday.

"India be-lieves in the rule of law, and there is a strong democracy, while China is centrally controlled and there are various obstacles such as import restrictions. But at the end of the day, both markets are very important," said Glickman, who is attending the three-day Fortune Global Forum.

Glickman lauded recent anti-piracy developments in India, like the adoption of a resolution in the state of Maharashtra that makes video piracy an offense that carries a minimum sentence, but he added that "much more needs to be done."

According to MPA data, India's domestic industry suffers more from piracy here than do imported films, which account for just 20% of pirated goods. Despite the recent growth in theatrical revenue for Indian films overseas, MPA data indicates that in the U.S., home video revenue for Indian films has declined by 75% over the past three years because of rampant piracy.

"My goal is to build bridges between the Indian and U.S. film industries to address these issues," Glickman said. "With MPA member studios (such as Sony, Warner and Disney) announcing recent co-production deals in India, this is a seminal time for Indo-U.S. film ties."

India also is home to the world's largest network of digital cinemas. Mumbai-based UFO Moviez operates more than 1,000 screens, but most are not compliant with the Hollywood studios' Digital Cinema Initiative guidelines. Dubbed versions of Hollywood titles therefore are not released on this system, given that there are only six DCI-compliant screens in India.

"Issues such as DCI are collectively decided by the studios. At the moment, we as the MPA really can't comment on DCI as it's an ongoing debate," Glickman said.

With Sony Pictures' debut Bollywood production "Saawariya" (Beloved) opening Nov. 9 worldwide, the film also will be released on 250 non-DCI compliant digital screens in India as an exception. "This is a commercial decision by the studio, and we really can't comment on this," Glickman said.