Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce (APFCC), the body that represents the Telugu Film Industry, has launched a mobile app, Indian Movie Cop (IMC), to spread awareness about movie piracy, reports The Economic Times. The application is available for download from the Google Play Store.

Users can make use of the app without any registrations but it offers points to registered users to report on piracy. However, it’s not clear whether those points could be converted into any offline incentive or the points are just to gamify the app. To register on the app, users need to submit name, email id, password, phone number, and address. When we registered on the app and activated our account, we couldn’t find a way to login to the app (we tried on Micromax A90S).

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While the app allows users to set the app’s language from 8 languages, we found the app still displays content in English irrespective of the languages chosen. IMC has two sections — First Look and Report. The First Look provides trailers of the latest Hollywood, Bollywood, and regional cinema, which are essentially linked to the videos uploaded on YouTube. The report tab asks users to manually enter the shop name, address, movie title and other useful description to report about the piracy. We are skeptical whether users would make an effort to manually enter the data. Ideally the app should have taken advantage of phone’s GPS to automate the location details.

Useful or Useless?

The film industry expects movie enthusiasts to use to the app in order to report piracy. While this is a good way to crowdsource the process, there just aren’t enough incentives for the general public or the ones not associated with the movie industry to make use of the app.

It appears that the film industry, that faces new challenges from the digital world, has also been making use of technology to curb piracy. However, we believe crowdsourcing shouldn’t be a way to curb piracy, the film industry should instead work with the lawmakers transparently, or create good content and make it easily available legally. Currently, it’s too difficult for Indian users to view or purchase digital copies of movies online legally.

Other developments

In September 2012, the anti-piracy cell of the Kerala Police had registered cases against 1,010 individuals/websites for illegally uploading or downloading Malayalam film Bachelor Party. Last year in April 2012, The Motion Picture Association (India) wanted the 36 hour time period of content removal under Section 79 of the IT Act, to be reduced, so that content could be taken down as soon as illegal copies are reported.

In April 2012, APFCC had inked an MoU with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), in a bid to curb film piracy. The Indian government too had approved a scheme under the 12th Five Year Plan where it would spend Rs 2 crore for carrying out an anti-piracy initiative in the audio-visual sector.