The Video Piracy is posing a grave threat to the Film Industry which is providing entertainment, employment and livelihood to millions of people throughout the World. On account of Video Piracy not only the Film Industry but, also the Government is loosing revenue of about 1200 Crores of Rupees per annum. The Telugu Film Industry which is producing about 150 films in a year in Andhra Pradesh, stands first in the production of films in India. The Film Industry is loosing crores of rupees due to the rampant video piracy in Andhra Pradesh.
The A. P. Film Chamber of Commerce, Hyderabad has created the Anti-Video Piracy Cell in 1st April, 2005, consisting of Retd., Police Officers from the rank of S.P. to S.I. with the sole objective of combating the menace of video piracy of Telugu Films in Andhra Pradesh. Altogether 61 personnel i.e. 1 S.P., 1 Addl. S.P., 7 D.S.Ps., 12 C.ls, 36 S.l.s, 1 Legal Adviser, 1 P.A., 1 Accountant and 1 Office Boy are working in the Cell and started functioning effectively from 02-05-2005. Mobile phones were provided to all the Staff Members of AVP Cell. A control room is functioning from 09.00 a.m. to 09.00 p.m. all the seven days in a week to receive complaints of video piracy and to communicate the same to the AVP Cell staff working in the State, for taking immediate action with Mobile No: 9000 40 10 20 with e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Sri C. Anjaneya Reddy, IPS (Retd.), former Chairman & Managing Director of A. P. Tourism Development Corporation was kind enough to provide necessary guidance in the formation and functioning of the AVP Cell. The AVP Cell has also created a Website www.stoppiracv.com. Efforts are being made to update the information on the Website. Internet is also being checked regularly to keep a watch over the Internet piracy and take appropriate action by informing C.I.D, Cyber crimes.
The Andhra Pradesh State has been divided in to seven regions - namely - 1) Hyderabad City Region - covering entire Hyderabad City ; 2) Cyberabad Region -covering Medak, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar and R.R. Districts and Cyberabad Commissionerate 3) Warangal Region - covering Warangal, Khammam, Karimnagar, Nizambad and Adilabad Districts 4) Vijayawada Region --covering Krishna, Guntur, West Godavari Districts and Vijayawada City 5) Visakhapatnam Region - covering Visakhapatnam City, Visakhapatnam Rural, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari Districts 6) Kadapa Region - covering Kadapa, Ananthapur and Kurnool Districts and 7) Tirupathi Region - covering Chittoor, Nellore and Prakasham Districts. Each Region is headed by a Regional Co-ordinator (Addl. S.P./D.S.P. Retd.). The Districts are covered by a Co-ordinator (Inspector Retd.) and Asst. Co-ordinators (S.I. Retd.). At Head Quarters the Chief Co-Ordinator (S.P. Retd.), R.C.O, Head Quarters (D.S.P. Retd.), 3 Asst. Coordinators (S.ls. Retd.) i.e. one as A.C.O. Head Quarters and two at Control Room are functioning.
The APFCC has formed Governing Council with Sri M. Shyam Prasad Reddy as Chairman, Sri K.C.Sekhar Babu, Sri M. Vijander Reddy, President and Sri K. Murali Mohan, Hon. Secretary of Telangana Film Chambers of Commerce respectively, as Members to monitor the functioning of Anti-Video Piracy Cell. The Governing Council meetings are being held regularly to review the work of AVP Cell and to take necessary steps for improvement. The first meeting of the Governing Council was held on 2nd Sept., 2005 and later the meetings are being conducted at least once in a month or more as and when needed. Sri C.C. Reddy, Advisor to the Government of Andhra Pradesh was also requested to be a Member for the Governing Council of AVP Cell, from 15-07-2006. However, he could attend a few meetings only.
As on 31-12-2010 the AVP Cell has assisted police in arresting 5201 persons who indulged in video piracy and got registered cases under the Copyright Act 1957, all over the state in A. P. Out of them 29 cases ended in conviction, 1520 cases were acquitted, 1928 cases are pending trial in various courts, and the remaining 1724 cases are under investigation. The accused in the piracy cases relating to the films Bunny, Andarivadu, Bommarillu, Sankranthi, Gajani, Pokiri, Gudumba Sankar, Goutham S.S.C., Varsham, Aa Naluguru, Pandem, Radha Gopalam, Mass etc. were convicted.
Cash rewards were given on four occasions, to the staff of AVP Cell, who have booked more no. of cases. On 09-07-2005 Sri C. Anjaneya Reddy, IPS (Retd.) Former Chairman and Managing Director of A P. Tourism Development Corporation, on 10-09-2005 Sri K. Chiranjeevi, Mega Star, On 06-02-2006 Sri D. Venkatesh, Cine Hero and on 20-05-2006 Sri K. Pavan Kalyan, Cine Hero have distributed the rewards to the Staff as a gesture of encouragement and addressed them. The Cine Actors appreciated the efforts of AVP Cell in curbing Video piracy of Telugu films and promised to extend their support.
In Tamil Nadu State, the C.I.D. has a special wing to book, video piracy cases. But, they could book only about 877 cases in the year 2005 with a strength of 106 members and 16 vehicles, whereas the AVP Cell has got booked 1334 cases in eight months i.e. from May to December, 2005 with less staff without vehicles and under adverse conditions. The S.P., C.I.D., Tamil Nadu has appreciated the work of the AVP Cell.
On 1sl June, 2006 Ms. Victoria Espinel of the office of the President United States Trade Representative of Intellectual Property, Washington D.C. Mr. Timothy Browning of the United States Patent and Trademark officer, Advisor, Office of Enforcement Alexandria, Virginia and other officials Ms. Ann Chaitovite, Mr. Dominic Keating and Ms, Tanuja Grade visited A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce on their own held discussion with Hon. Secretary, A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce, Sri C. Kalyan and Governing Council Members, Sri M. Shyam Prasad Reddy, Sri K.C. Sekhar Babu, Sri M. Vijander Reddy and Sri Murali Mohan Sri M Shyam Prasad Reddy explained the functioning of Anti-Video Piracy Cell and briefed the team about the cases booked. The team appreciated the work of Anti-Video Piracy Cell and agreed to extend necessary support and co-operation to prevent video piracy over internet by WEBSITEs based in U.S.A.
On June 1st evening Mr. Mathew Cheetham, Director of operations, Asia-Pacific Region of Motion Pictures Association-International (Hollywood), Singapore accompanied by Col. Anil Nayar of M/s. Lall & Sethi Co., New Delhi, Representative of Motion Pictures Association in India and Mr. Gokul Singh (Addl. Superintendent of Police Retd.), Head Investigator and Local representative of Lall & Sethi, Co., New Delhi, visited A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce and held discussion with the Governing Council members of Anti-Video Piracy Cell.They appreciated the work done by the Anti-Video Piracy Cell and proposed to work with mutual co-operation to prevent video piracy on mutual interest basis. They proposed to help prevent video piracy of Telugu films in U.S.A. and proposed to send a proposal of Memorandum of Understanding which is awaited. They also visited APFCC on 15-09-2006.
The Chief Co-Ordinator, AVP Cell met the Director General of Police, Addl. Director General of Police, I.Gs., D.I.Gs, Commissioners of Police, Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Visakhapatnam and Supdts. of Police of Chittoor, Guntur, Ranga Reddy, Khammam, Krishna, Kurnool, Medak, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Nellore, Prakasham, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam Rural and Vizianagaram Districts. He also met the District Collectors of Prakasham, Mahabubnagar, Medak and Hyderabad seeking their co-operation in preventing video piracy. The relentless efforts by the Chief Co-Ordinator resulted in issuance of several circulars to the S.Ps. of the Districts to cooperate with the Staff of A.V.P. Cell.
The Governing Council along with the Chief Co-Ordinator also held Meetings with the Exhibitors at Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Karimnagar, Miryalaguda, Nizambad, Eluru and Kurnool and briefed them about the efforts of AVP Cell and also APFCC in controlling the video piracy and sought their cooperation in this regard.
The Government vide Memo no. 14183/Gen.A2/2003-3, Dt. 02-02-2005 of Home (Gen.A) Dept. has issued instructions to all the licensing authorities all the District Collectors, / Commissioners of Police, Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, marking copies to the D.G.P. and Commissioner of Information and Public Relations, stating that the Govt. of India has requested the State Government to take necessary measures to combat the growing menace of piracy in the Film and Music Industry under the Copyright Act 1957, and the A.P. Exhibition of Films on T.V. Screen through VCR (Regulation) Act. 1993 as amended in 2005, and also to take steps for curbing video piracy, and report to the Government about the cases booked on regular basis.
The efforts of the APFCC resulted in the issue of G.O. Rt. No. 671 Home (General-A) Department, Dt. 17-05-2005 by the Government for creating District Cells with 1. District Collector, Chairman, 2. Supt. of Police, 3. Member of Film Chamber of Commerce as Members, 4. District P.R.O., t & P.R. as Convener to curb the Video piracy in their respective jurisdiction.
As per Government orders, the D.G.P., A.P. Hyderabad has nominated the Addl D.G.P., C.l D., as in-charge for monitoring video piracy cases at State level and also to review the status of the cases District wise quarterly, vide his Memo RC No. 710/C19/1/CID/2007 Dt. 05-03-2007, in accordance with the G.O. Rt. No. 671 Dt. 17-05-2005.
The D.G.P. has issued circulars vide RC No. 1896/Compts-3/2005 Dt. 31-05-2005 and 19-01-2006, advising the Suptds. of Police and Commissioners of Police to nominate an Officer of the Rank of S.I./C.I. exclusively to assist, organize raids and keep vigilant watch on Video piracy in their respective jurisdiction by coordinating with the Anti-Video Piracy Cell Staff. But, the orders of D.G.P. have been carried out by only a few Unit Officers.
The APFCC in its letter dt. 29-12-2005, to the D.G.P. has brought to his notice, various instances of non-cooperation of police to register piracy cases on the information furnished by the C.Osand A.C.Osof AVP Cell.
The A.P. Exhibition of Films on T.V. Screen through V.C.R (Regulation Act) was enacted in the year 1993, but it has not been implemented. Rules were also not framed under the Act. The said Act was amended in 2005 at the instance of the A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce. Rules were framed in 2005 by the Legal Adviser of AVP Cell under the above Act and submitted to the Government. After lot of persuasion, the rules have been issued by the Government vide G.O. Ms. No. 251, Dt. 10-10-2006 and G.O. Ms No. 60, Dt. 03-04-2007 of Home (Gen.A) Dept and have been published in the A.P. Gazette. Accordingly every Video Library has to obtain licence to run the business. The Associations of Video Libraries have been addressed accordingly and the Government has been requested to give wide publicity in this regard, marking a copy to the Special Commissioner, Information and Public Relations. Letters have been addressed to the local leading T.V. Channels with a request to give wide publicity through scrolling in their Channels about obtaining a licence, as per Law, for doing business of VCDs & DVDs and that contravention of the Law will result in imprisonment and also fine.
The Government has also been requested through a letter dt. 28-05-2007 addressed to the Special Chief Secretary, Govt. of A.P., to specify the time limit to obtain licences by the video Library owners, since the Act has come into force very recently.
Special Court - On 03-02-2006 the APFCC has addressed a letter to the Hon. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, requesting to designate any one of the Courts or create a special court exclusively to try the Video piracy cases to facilitate speedy disposal. The APFCC has also agreed to bear the entire expenditure on the Special Court. With the cooperation and initiative of Sri. C.C. Reddy, Advisor to the Government of A.P., and relentless efforts by the APFCC, the Hon'ble Chief Minister has sanctioned Special Court for trying the video piracy cases at Govt., expenses. The Government of A.P. vide G.O. M.S. No. 63 Dt. 06-06-2007 has accorded sanction for establishment of a Special Court in the cadre of Addl. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, at Hyderabad for trial of video piracy cases with Jurisdiction over the entire State with staff of 16 members and an expenditure of Rs. 17.5 lakhs per annum.
Two - one day Seminar-cum-Work shops were conducted jointly by the A.P. Police Academy, Directorate of Prosecutions, A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce and Motion Pictures Association on 2"" December, 2006 and 24lh Feb. 2007 for the Asst. Public Prosecutors (160) of the entire State and Police Officers in two sessions in the A.P. Police Academy, Hyderabad. Justice Chalameshwar of A.P. High Court and Hon'ble Home Minister Sri K. Jana Reddy were the Chief Guests for the Seminars respectively. The A.P.Ps. who were not evincing any interest in the trial of Piracy cases till then, have changed their attitude and most of them are now taking interest in conducting prosecution.
Dadasaheb Phalke Academy, Mumbai invited the A.P. Film Chamber of Commerce to participate in the celebrations of Anti-piracy day on eve of the birthday of Sri Dadasaheb Phalke - Father of Indian Cinema on 16-02-2007. The Chief Coordinator and the Legal Advisor of Anti-Video Piracy Cell were asked by the APFCC to represent them in the Anti-piracy day celebrations at Mumbai. Representatives of the Film Federation of India and many important personalities from the Film Industry like Sri Anupam Kher, Cine Actor, Mumbai, participated in the celebrations. The Chief Co-Ordinator of AVP Cell, Hyderabad addressed the meeting and narrated the steps being taken by the APFCC to control and prevent video piracy in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The Film Industry, Bombay appreciated APFCC for its commendable work in preventing the video piracy in A.P.
Pirated latest Telugu films are being displayed in the various Websites over Internet particularly, the GOOGLE International Website. The matter was brought to the notice of Addl. D.G.P., C.I.D. and S.P., C.I.D. (Cyber Crimes). The management of Google was summoned and directed to delete all the pirated Telugu cinemas from the Website.
Exhibitors have complained that some Cable Operators are showing the latest Telugu Films on their Cable Network, which are being screened in their theatres, resulting in loss of revenue to them. On that, the AVP Cell staff have acted promptly and got the said Cable Operators arrested and cases were booked against them. The Chief Post Master General of A.P. Circle has been requested to furnish the list of Cable Operators with their addresses who were registered in the Head Post Offices in the State. Their reply is awaited.
483 slides in Telugu and 100 in English totaling 583 at the cost of Rs. 17.500/- were made to educate the audience in Cinema theatres about danger of video piracy and distributed to Ananthapur, Kadapa, West Godavari, Guntur, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Krishna, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Khammam, Nizambad, Mahabubnagar, Medak, Adilabad and Hyderabad Districts. Slides were not distributed to Chittoor, East Godavari, Kurnool, Nellore, Prakasham, Visakhapatnam, Warangal and Ranga Reddy Districts.
A letter was also sent to the President, South India Film Chamber of Commerce, Chennai, regarding open sale of CDs and DVDs of Telugu pirated films sold in Burma Bazar, Chennai requesting them to take necessary preventive action.
The APFCC through a letter dt. 23-05-2007 has requested the Government to make provisions for the detention of video pirates under the A.P. prevention of dangerous activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act. 1986, as similar provisions have been made by the State Governments of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Government has also been requested to advise the Collectors to hold District Cell meetings and also to advise the DGP to give instructions to all the Commissioners of Police and S.Ps of the Districts to include the video piracy cases in their monthly crime statements and review their progress and also to take all possible steps to curb video piracy by taking immediate cognizance, whenever the AVP Cell staff furnish information about video piracy.
The APFCC has addressed a letter Dt. 11-05-2007 to the Secretary, Legislative Affairs and Justice, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad for arranging the translation of Rules under the A.P- Exhibition of Films through VCR (Regulation) Act 1993, as amended in 2005 in to Telugu for the convenience of the People who do not know English.
Under the A.P. Exhibition of Films on T.V. Screen through V.C.R (Regulation Act) 1993 as amended in 2005 only the Asst. Supdt. of Police or Dy. Supdt. Of Police is empowered to enter the premises, where video piracy activity is being carried out, search and seize the incriminating material. As such, the APFCC has addressed a letter Dt. 18-05-2007 to the Special Chief Secretary to Government, Home Dept., Govt. of A.P., Hyderabad requesting to empower the Sub-Inspector of Police to enter, search and seize the incriminating material, as the Sub-Inspector of Police has no powers to take action under the said Act. though the offences are cognizable. Whereas, the Copyright Act 1957, which is a Central Act, empowers a Police Officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector to enter, search and seize.
The APFCC in its letter to the D.G.P. on 29-05-2007 has requested him to address the Government for empowering the S.I. of Police to take action under the AP. Exhibition of films on T.V. screen through VCR (Regulation) Act. 1993 as amended in 2005, since the S.I. has no powers under the said Act unlike the Copyright Act 1957. Accordingly the Govt., of A.P. has issued a an ordinance No. 7 of 2010 on 24th June 2010 authorising Sub-inspector of Police.
On the request of the AVP Cell, the Director of Prosecutions has issued suitable instructions through his Circular No. 515/A2/206 Dt. 28-04-2006 for the effective prosecution of the piracy cases.
The APFCC addressed a letter on 04-07-2006 to the Hon. Home Minister of A.P. requesting to designate an officer of the rank of C.I./S.I. of Central Crime Stations (CCS) of all Districts and Cities, to exclusively deal with cases under Copyright Act. 1957 and other relevant laws related to video piracy, since local Officers are otherwise busy in their multifarious duties.
On 17-07-2006, the APFCC has addressed a letter to the Hon. Chief Minister of Karnataka State, marking a copy to the President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, Bangalore requesting to take measures for prevention and control of rampant open video piracy and sale of VCDs & DVDs of Telugu films in Karnataka State.
In convicted cases Cash Rewards have been sent to the concerned Suptds. of Police for distributing to the Investigating Officers. Mementoes were also given to the Asst. Public Prosecutors for conducting successful prosecutions. A letter has been sent to the Director of Prosecutions, appreciating the work of Asst. Public Prosecutors and thanking him. But, the request of the APFCC to accord permission to give rewards to the Police Officers, in convicted cases has been rejected by the Government through its Memo dt. 10-05-2007. However, the matter will be represented to the Government for its reconsideration.
The APFCC has appointed Sri Srinivasulu, IPS (Retd.), MLC and former D.G.P., Karnataka State as Consultant w.e.f. 01-02-2007.
The General Secretary of the Film Federation of India, Mumbai has requested the APFCC Hyderabad to extend cooperation and necessary assistance in preventing video piracy to the Delegation of Copyrights Board, Kenya, Nairobi which is visiting India during the last of week of June, 2007 to study the measures to be taken for preventing the Video piracy. The APFCC has agreed to the request arid desired the AVP Cell to do the needful to the visiting delegation of Kenya.
The Producers are being informed about the details of the piracy cases booked in respect of their films. Efforts are also being made to check piracy in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Karnataka States.