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Kabali seeks court help to curb video piracy

| P. ARUL
Published : Jul 15, 2016, 7:35 am IST
Updated : Jul 15, 2016, 7:35 am IST

In the celluloid world, superstar Rajinikanth mostly dons roles in which he thrashes villains in a facile manner and in unique style.

In the celluloid world, superstar Rajinikanth mostly dons roles in which he thrashes villains in a facile manner and in unique style. But in real life, he has no such ammunition to protect from video and Internet piracy of his much-awaited multi-lingual film Kabali, scheduled to hit screens across world on July 22.

‘Kalaipuli’ S. Thanu, Kabali’s producer, has approached the Madras high court seeking direction to restrain 169 Internet service providers (ISPs) from permitting downloading of Kabali.

Mr Thanu stated in the petition, “It is a high-profile film starring superstar Rajinikanth and many leading actors and actresses. The film is slated to be released simultaneously in multiple languages in thousands of screens all over the world.” He added that video/Internet piracy has been posing a grave threat to the film industry as a whole in India, including Tamil Nadu.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Vijay Narayan submitted that the film has been produced at a cost of over `100 crore involving 3,500 workers in the making of the film for over a year. Over 70 per cent of the revenue of over 160 ISPs in India is generated from illegal downloads. This was done violating terms and conditions of their license. The illegal downloads include films, music and pornography. For obvious reasons, the government has been turning a blind eye, since it earns huge amounts in terms of spectrum fees and licenses, he said. Mr Thanu said, “The Internet revolution has been seriously affecting the revenue of film producers. I apprehend that these websites, called as rough websites, would indulge in the unauthorised streaming, screening and downloading of my film Kabali. This would cause irreparable loss to me. These illegal websites are vehicles of infringement for Internet piracy.”

Vijay Narayan said after the arrival of 3-G network, downloading huge volumes of files form the Internet has become easy and cheap. Anyone sitting in a small room and using an ISP can download a film or any other copyrighted material, produced by spending hundreds of crores of rupees involving the labour of thousands of artists, artistes and technicians and others, within eight minutes of its release by spending a very meagre amount of `20. And it can be seen by lakhs and lakhs of people, resulting in empty theatres.

Vijay Narayan asked the court to pass interim injunction to restrain 169 private ISPs from downloading Kabali at least for ten days. Justice N. Kirubakaran, before whom the matter came up for hearing, has directed the authorities to file a reply and adjourned the matter to Friday.