Pirates of Bollywood – Copyrights, Legal Thriller (Novel), IP lawyers, Attack strategy – Episode 20
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Authored by Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
“Prong 2: Court Action,” Lamba continued. “This prong involves the use of the court system for our purposes. We pick and choose our targets at different levels in the piracy chain, and go after them by filing law suits. We will hire the best IP lawyers across the country to represent us against pirates. Under the leadership of Mr. Viren Bhatia, who, as you are aware, is the best entertainment lawyer in India, our team of lawyers will acquire and execute court orders.”
“Who are our targets and what orders would we seek?” Zakir asked, intrigued by Lamba’s exposition.
“We will target everyone in the chain from persons pirating films to persons distributing the content. And we will pray in the courts for all kinds of civil and criminal orders possible, Mr. Zakir,” Lamba explained. “However, as you probably know, final resolution of a dispute by a court could take a long time, if contested. So, our team will focus on getting temporary orders such as injunctions and John Doe orders, and ex parte decisions of permanent injunctions and damages, in uncontested cases.”
“What Dough orders?” Aran asked, clearly unaware of the injunctive measure extensively used against piracy. “John Doe and Jane Doe orders are orders given against unknown, large-scale, and prospective pirates. By acquiring an order, we can prevent copyright piracy by serving advance notices and taking preventive and pro-active action, online and offline. For example, we can stop internet service providers like BSNL, Airtel, and so on from making copies of any new film available online by blocking links. If we turn out lucky, we may also be able to shut certain websites completely, and go after people, who sell, buy or download our movies illegally. The orders may also be used to take action against physical stores, vendors, and so on. Of course, having used them, some of you are well aware of these.”
“Wow, I did not know that this was a possibility,” Aran said enthusiastically. Encouraged by Aran’s positive response, Lamba elaborated further. “Yes Mr. Aran, it is possible. Many Indian producers have used this to reduce piracy. Films like Bodyguard, Dhoom, Singam, and several others have earlier acquired these orders and also benefited from them.”
“With our very fast and transparent court system, how can you ensure that we get favorable orders in time? By magic?” Kapoor questioned, dripping sarcasm. His friend Singh nodded in agreement and took a swig of whisky displaying indifference to what followed.
“I agree, Mr. Kapoor,” Lamba responded, “I am not saying that we would get decisions in our favor in all the cases. By picking the right party to sue, employing the best lawyers, and appealing to judges who will suit us, we might maximize our chances. In fact, our aim is to send a strong message about our intention, rather than winning every single case. That message will by itself mitigate piracy by 30 to 40 percent. Just like you, many people detest even being pulled to the court, let alone fight a case.”
“How much will this cost?” Vadivelu asked once again. Having scanned the numbers several times with Shan, Lamba had them on his finger tips. “It would not exceed 50 crores. And I guarantee that you will earn this money in less than six months, Mr. Vadivelu,” he assured. At this instance, Zakir walked out of the conference hall. He went to the rest room, and placed a call to update his contact about the proceedings. Five minutes later, he was back, and was surprised to see that the presentation was paused for him.
“Now, you may continue,” Shan told Lamba, as soon as Zakir took his seat. “Sure Mr. Shan.
“Prong 3: Hunting Sellers and Buyers. Hunting consumers, end users, sellers and buyers of pirated content forms an integral part of our fight against piracy. With the help of the police force, local lawyers, and private agencies, we shall organize raids on sellers as well as buyers of pirated movies and music. The raids will be aimed at seizure of discs and arrests, followed by relevant criminal proceedings. For piracy on the internet, a special team will be set up to monitor, identify, block and take down the pirated content from sources on the web. This team will use technology to block piracy and pirates. They will focus on both the online businesses and individuals. Once buyers and downloaders of our content are identified, online and offline notices will be sent to them. These notices will threaten civil and criminal action unless the individual would sign up for our anti-piracy program and pay compensation for prior violations. We will target high profile individuals in the society and publicize the same to send a strong message to the common man. The social stigma against piracy, we believe, will work very well to reduce the evil and establish our seriousness. To summarize, we use legal, physical, digital, psychological, and ethical routes to curb piracy. Our publicity team will ensure that the information is spread far and wide to get the best possible effect. We will, in short, shake the society and ensure it is free from piracy.”
“What do you expect this whole activity to cost?” Vadivelu asked, once again interested only in the finances of the plan. “About 300 hundred crores, including our professional fee,” Lamba said, once again very casually. The plan was to show that the plan would work, and that it was not a huge price to pay for the returns it can possibly fetch.
“What kind of returns are we to expect?” Shan asked. The purpose of this pre-planned question was to convince the others of its financial benefits. Irrespective of their circumspection, Shan was confident that the producers would vote for the plan irrespective of its implementation cost, if they sniffed the probability of earning good returns from their investment.
“As per our current estimates, if we can reduce piracy by just 10 percent, we are looking at a benefit of around 2000 crores per year. The returns, if this plan works, would be very lucrative,” Lamba said, showing a table of expected returns for different percentages on the screen.
“Do we have to pay 300 crores every year?” Vadivelu asked, looking at some calculations he scribbled on his notepad. “No Sir. This budget is for three years.”
“It looks like a very expensive affair. Can you guarantee the results?” Aran asked.
“Mr. Aran, as you know, no one can predict 100 percent results in this kind of an activity. But, I can tell you that you will definitely get a return of at least double your investment,” Lamba replied, pointing to the last row in the table on his slide.
“If we do go ahead with this, how much would each of us have to pay as capital investment?” Zakir asked, looking at Shan.
“Zakir, we could arrive at a contribution policy based on an objective formula, after comprehensive discussions. It is to be based on amount of content each person owns, nature of activities he wishes to be involved in, and so on. But, that is not important now. Right now, we must decide, if this gentleman’s proposal makes sense, and whether it is worth our while to pursue it seriously. On matters of such significance, haste won’t take us anywhere,” Shan cautioned. Then, he looked at Lamba, and said, “Mr. Lamba, do you have anything else to add?”
“No Sir, I am done with my presentation. You will find all the information in the proposal as well.”
“Excellent, Lamba. We will discuss, and get in touch, if and when we make a decision.”
“Sure Sir. Thanks a lot for the opportunity.” Then, Lamba packed up his laptop, shook hands, and left.
Lamba had played his part to perfection, and it was now Shan’s turn. The convincing job was tougher than Shan expected and he achieved very little that day. Kapoor and Singh were dead against the proposal and Zakir sided with them. So, it took Shan several personal interactions, replacement of office bearers, lobbying and six long months to finally get the project going. He could have gone ahead with Project Pi by himself, but that would not fit into his scheme of things and the populist image to the programming that he envisioned.
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Copyright, Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala.
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- Episode 1
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- Episode 9
- Episode 10
- Episode 11
- Episode 12
- Episode 13
- Episode 14
- Episode 15
- Episode 16
- Episode 17
- Episode 18
- Episode 19