| 21 Feb 2024
New streaming services will help boost music industry in India: Savio D'Souza

MUMBAI: The Indian Music Industry (IMI), as part of combating piracy on the internet, was able to get an order to block 300 websites and four court orders in two years time.

IMI Secretary General Savio D'Souza said, "On the internet space, we are making our selves stronger. On internet piracy, IMI obtained an order to block 300 websites."

Enforcement agency, IMI, is in business of creating capacity for intellectual property (IP) and to create awareness of IP by conducting seminars, workshops and other programs. He strongly believes that IMI does not need the capacity to conduct raids. Recently, music label company T-Series initiated a raid after a local cable channel aired content in spite of surpassing the 'kill date'. When asked about the raid T-Series conducted and the need for labels to partner with bodies like IMI, he said, "They should partner but they do not. The fact is that technology has overtaken the industry and ego continues to be the major issue here. Ego is the troubling block in creating a united effort by industries in contributing to fight against piracy."

In 2009, major label companies like Universal Music, Sony Music, Saregama, Aditya Music, Tips and Venus had joined hands with IMI. He also added, "There will always be room for IP enforcement but unfortunately many companies are not really concerned about it."

India is growing in number of internet users with the increase in use of smartphones. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the Internet user base in the country stood at 190 million at the end of June 2013. D'Souza said, "India will so be the second largest internet market in the world. With new International streaming services coming in the picture there will be various services which will target various groups of consumers. Companies will market services which will help boost the music industry. The challenge for us here would be to clean the place and help companies market their services really well."

He added, "With moving technology, the replication or copying of songs has become far easier. The music industry or film industry were not very consumer-oriented earlier. In this new internet age, it is important to know how to reach out to your consumers. If a consumer is consuming the song, the challenge is how they will pay for it."

For the first budget of new NDA regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that service tax has been extended to include online and mobile advertising, which will broaden the tax base. Commenting on this development and its relation with the music business, he said, "The music industry is paying their taxes, so if online service providers are using these services, then they have to pay for it as well. That is the law of the land. It is good that the taxes policy started off early because introducing the policy in the long run into the business would have been affected with this development. It does not affect music per se because it is largely pirated. People in other business will be affected."

Talking about the much talked about Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012, D'Souza said, "There are various issues in the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012 regarding its implementation. Once the issue gets resolved things will fall into place. Until then we have to wait."

He also pointed that other industries are somehow responsible for the piracy. "Other than the music industry, film, software and gaming industries do not have a structured approach while dealing with IP enforcement. Hence, they are somehow responsible for everything," stressed D'Souza.