U.S.-India group commissions piracy study


NEW DELHI -- The Washington-based U.S.-India Business Council announced Thursday that the Indian arm of global consulting firm Ernst & Young has been commissioned to produce a professional study on the effects of piracy on the entertainment industry here.

The USIBC-E&Y contract follows up on the "Bollywood-Hollywood Initiative," which concentrates on intellectual property issues. That effort was launched jointly in March by USIBC and general industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry at FICCI's entertainment industry conference FRAMES.

Now in its 32nd year, USIBC is a business advocacy organization representing 250 of the largest U.S. companies investing in India and 24 of India's largest global companies.

"Since USIBC rolled out this initiative with our partners FICCI, USIBC has been deluged with interest in how the U.S. and India can work together to stop piracy in the entertainment and media industry," USIBC president Ron Somers said. "The contract with Ernst & Young in India is the logical next step."

Said USIBC director of intellectual property Greg Kalbaugh, who will oversee the study: "Showing just how much India is hurt by entertainment and media piracy will set the stage for cooperation in anti-piracy public service advertising, passage of optical disc legislation and U.S.-India cooperation in stopping cross-border piracy."

Sommers added that USIBC also will work toward anti-piracy measures to protect Indian films in the U.S.

"How can we credibly hope to shine the torchlight on piracy in India if we ignore piracy of Indian films here at home?," he said. "USIBC will provide responsible leadership of this initiative against all piracy of Indian entertainment, whether in India or North America."

To mark its 32nd anniversary, USIBC is organizing the June 27 "Global India Summit" in Washington.

The confab will feature Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, Reliance Industries CEO Mukesh Ambani, Indian Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, U.S. trade representative Susan Schwab, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.