Piracy is the unauthorized distribution and reproduction of copyrighted content and it poses a significant threat not only to the creators of original content but also to the entertainment industry at large. Makers of the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Jawan faced this serious threat against their film within hours of its theatrical release. This article aims to delve into the complexities around piracy in India, the enforcement mechanisms in place to assist producers along with the role of anti-piracy agencies with focus on how Jawan and its producers navigated the system to achieve massive success even in the face of an obstacle that was designed to ensure that the film is a failure at the box office.
The Battle Against Piracy
Jawan, a Red Chillies production that starred massive celebrities including Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Nayanthara, and Vijay Sethupathi, upon its theatrical release and as a consequence of its rising popularity was met with the instant piracy issues with the film being illegally distributed on various online platforms, including WhatsApp and various torrent sites, and Telegram within hours of its global release.
This almost instantly saw a decline in the revenues that the film was generating at the box office and impacted the initial overall performance of the film. Upon becoming aware of the same and in response to this grave issue, Red Chillies Entertainment, in a one a of a kind move, took a resolute stance against piracy recognizing the threat it would pose to the film industry, given how it undermines the hard work of thousands of people involved in the making of a movie. Red Chillies Entertainment realised that piracy, which not only constitutes theft but also infringes upon intellectual property rights of the producer of the film, if left unaddressed could lead to a loss of crores in the form of revenue generated by the film in the present economy, thereby leaving a real life impact on the success of their film.
Anti-Piracy Measures & the Battle Against Unlawful Access
In a bid to combat the illegal distribution of their film Jawan and bring the culprits to justice, Red Chillies Entertainment took several measures available to it in the legal realm. The production house employed multiple anti-piracy agencies to track down individuals and groups involved in circulating the film online illegally and also filed a police complaint against specific identifiable individuals involved in the act of pirating the film.
One such agency situated in the state of Maharashtra, home to the Bollywood film industry, is the MIPCU or the Maharashtra Intellectual Property Crimes Unit which operates as a division of Maharashtra Cyber, the state police’s cybercrime wing. The investigation conducted by Red Chillies Entertainment with the help of such agency, revealed the manner and mode of such infringement and assisted the production house in tracking down the individuals directly responsible for monetarily profiting from the exploitation of such pirated content.
In the event the producers had decided to take a civil route in the present case, the development on this front in the legal layout of the country in an effort to combat piracy would’ve been noted, as many states have now established fast-track courts to expedite copyright-related cases. The Delhi High Court’s Intellectual Property Division has been particularly proactive in dealing with online film piracy cases.
Despite the initial setback caused by piracy, Jawan managed to dazzle at the box office. The film not only garnered critical acclaim but also set new records for box office collections. It became the fastest Hindi movie to cross the ₹600 crore mark at the global box office, a milestone that it achieved in just six days.
The success of Jawan can be attributed to a lot of factors, including the star-studded cast, the gripping storyline, and the directorial brilliance, but if there is one factor that stands out from the rest, it’s the manner in which the producers faced and dealt with the issue of piracy as soon as it came before them, using all legal remedies available to them in the country.
The battle against online piracy in India is a complex one, marked by both universal and local challenges. While the legal framework is in place, what’s required is its utilisation by the masses and industry stakeholders to better understand the practical challenges with its effective implementation (if any). Therefore, while piracy continues to challenge the Indian entertainment industry, concerted efforts from legal authorities, and industry experts with some assistance from anti-piracy agencies can make a significant difference in curbing this pervasive issue and safeguarding the intellectual property rights of creators. With its actions, Jawan and its producers have not only set an example for other film’s to follow but have also become a testament to the power of collective action in the fight against piracy. The film’s success serves as a reminder that when the industry and the audience unite to protect the integrity of creative works, the magic of cinema can thrive, and artists can continue to inspire and entertain us for years to come.
Contributors: Shaanal Shah, Dayita Panicker