“India, with its rich musical heritage and passionate music fans, has the potential to move from its current position as the 15th largest music market in the world into the Top 10 in the next few years,”
said Lauri Rechardt, Chief Legal Officer, IFPI at the seminar on Digital Piracy, organised by The Indian Music Industry (IMI), in association with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
The seminar was organised on the 21st and 22nd of November in New Delhi to discuss the “pertinent issues relating to digital piracy including intermediary liabilities and preventive measures to effectively tackle digital piracy.”
India ranks 15th amongst the recorded music industries globally but the Indian music industry contributes a meagre 0.006% to the GDP. For the Indian Music Industry to be amongst the Top 10 global music market, it needs to overcome impending obstacles, piracy being the major one.
India’s piracy level is soaring at 67% high which is more than the global average 27%. However, not all is that bleak. According to the IMI+IFPI Digital Music Study, the usage of pirated music content (including Cyberlockers, P2P (including BitTorrent), Stream Ripping and Mobile apps) dropped from 76% in 2018 to 67% in 2019.
The aforementioned seminar included panel discussions by prominent stakeholders from the Indian music industry. The first panel, “Preventive Measures Now and Going Forward: The Best Possible Scenario” discussed the preventive measures to curb digital piracy. There were numerous points that were brought to light such as legislative frameworks that introduce stringent penalties; enforcement guidelines that discourage users from engaging with pirated sources to access music; educating users about the already available free music streaming channels.
Moderated by Mr Vipul Maheshwari, Co-Chair, FICCI IPR Committee, the panel included eminent personalities like Mr Amarjit Singh Batra, Managing Director, Spotify India; Ms Oindrila Maitra, Director (Legal and Business Affairs), Jio Saavn; Mr David Price, Director, Consumer – Director of Insight and Analysis; Mr Sanjay Tandon, CEO, ISRA; and Mr Raju Singh, Board Member, Music Composers’ Association and IPRS.
The panellists concluded by emphasising on the need for a collective effort from all stakeholders in the music industry to fight against digital piracy.
India ranks second in global piracy chart, after China. The music piracy rate in China is at 74% as opposed to India’s 67%. However, China has a take-down rate of 97% while India has 37%.
Thus, Ms Jenny Wong, Asia Regional Director, IFPI discussed China’s preventive measure, “Sword Net Action” to deal with digital piracy and “the implementation of similar administrative website-blocking measures in India.”
The Indian Music Industry has taken on to a hopeful trajectory in terms of growth and revenue in 2019. Out of which, 70% of the revenue is brought in by streaming. Also, it comes as no surprise that internet penetration backed by cheap availability has acted as a catalyst.
However, one cannot negotiate the need for stringent rules and regulations to make sure piracy is dreaded in order to heal the music industry.
Social media piracy has emerged in India owing to developments in cyberspace as a form of copyright infringement. Certain social media apps, especially those which actively facilitate user-generated content, indulge in copyright infringement by making available to their users unlicensed sound recordings owned by record labels in India to reproduce/ distribute/ publicly perform/ communicate to the public/ synchronize or otherwise use or exploit such recordings. Such apps seek immunity under “safe harbour provisions” to escape liability.
Reduction in piracy will automatically and organically increase consumption of licensed music if streaming platforms embark to build strong marketing initiatives. Reforms such as WIPO ratification undertaken by the Government of India is helpful in curbing piracy and stream-ripping on platforms to increase licensed music consumption.
Thus, Mr Lauri Rechardt, Chief Legal Officer, IFPI, Ms N.S.Nappinai, Legal Activist & Advocate, Supreme Court and Bombay High Court, Mr Nikhil Pahwa, Founder, Medianama and Mr G.R. Raghavender, Joint Secretary, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India shared ideas on the second panel called the “Intermediary Liabilities.”
“Safe harbours extended to Internet Service Providers was debated upon with each panellist voicing their opinion on the topic of intermediaries, in light of the Draft Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018, expected to be finalized by the beginning of 2020”
India’s highest share of revenue comes from licensed streaming services which have enabled domestic and international music labels to flourish. Also, the continuous growth of digital infrastructure has paved the way for a 50% growth in audio streaming to 150 million listeners in 2018, excluding YouTube.
Understanding the Indian music consumer market needs deep delving into how consumers engage with audio and video content. Following suit with the global music trend, the Indian audience is consuming music on digital platforms increasingly. Despite increasing internet and smartphone penetration, the consumers do not pay for music consumption but rather resort to consuming pirated content.
Mr Rechardt believes that India can achieve status amongst the leading global music market. However, the longevity of legal music services needs to be increased along with enduring solutions to piracy.
“More effective procedures are needed to ensure that unlicensed services cannot be accessed from India. The law should ensure that all online platforms negotiate licences for the music that they distribute. We hope India will seize the wonderful opportunity it has and begin the next chapter on its rich and exciting global music journey”
The seminar was concluded by Mr Blaise Fernandes, President & CEO of IMI where he opined,
“The time has come for the government to introduce administrative measures to empower the executive and bring immediate but also long-term relief from this cancer called music piracy.”