A suggestion that very few people agreed with, because it would go against international Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) agreements, but Savio D’Souza, Secretary General of the Indian Music Industry (IMI) put forward a case for registration of all copyright, saying that is necessary for copyright to be enforced in the country. D’Souza was speaking at a conference on the National IP Strategy, organized by FICCI.

“If you want copyright to be enforced, then the registrar needs to make mandatory to register all copyright, because the policeman on the ground cannot enforce it if he doesn’t know who owns the copyright. Do you know who owns the copyright for video for Kal Ho Na Ho? If I have one point of suggestion, it is that please ensure that copyright registration is made mandatory.”

IMI Versus Piracy

D’Souza said that the acquisition of content is not an issue: films are made in India in large numbers, and getting content in India is not an issue. But piracy is, and the IMI has a Zero Tolerance policy towards piracy:

All in all, the IMI has registered 20,000 cases, with 3000 convictions for music piracy. In 2009, 3000 cases were registered and there were 150 convictions. The IMI works with the police and conducted 59 police training programmes last year.

Converting Mobile Music Pirates

The IMI initiated a process by which those shopkeepers pirating music, allowing consumers to download songs to mobile phones were targeted. “We labeled the policy as MMX – mobile music exchange. We created an enforcement and business strategy, and started offering a license at the same price to the pirate. In the last year, we tried it in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal. 1900 shop keepers have come forward to take a license for a year for around Rs. 20,000-60,000. We told them, you either become legitimate or be raided. We plan to implement in 300 districts in this country by 2013.

Dispute Resolution

“We were wilting under the issue of 20,000 (piracy) cases. India introduced plea-bargaining, and we implemented it on the ground. There were pirates who wanted to settle the issue. In the last 1 year in Delhi alone, Rs. 20 lakh lakh has been collected as compensation, and state govt has collected Rs. 10 lakh due to the plea bargaining.”

D’Souza asked for tax relief, which provides benefits to businesses for enforcement of copyright, as an incentive. “If you give incentive to fight IP war, more people will be incentivied to create. Why only give incentive for IP creation?”