Legalizing online Piracy!


As weird as it sounds, I think this has to be the solution to the eternal conflict between major studios and we the consumers and might the 6-letter word “piracy”. Each one of us knows that there are torrents, mp3 download sites and we can use them to get FREE. If reports are to believed, India in fact is ranked 4th in music piracy and I am sure we will sustain this position in longer term.

My point however is to come up with a set of recommendations to counter piracy. Campaigns and other measures have clearly failed as India is on “Priority Watch List” in a press release by International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). Thus, definite measures have to be taken to combat piracy.


Re-plan the distribution model

Studios and production houses should start thinking about alternate distribution measure apart from CDs and MP3s. Looking at iTunes and Amazon’s music distribution could be a good idea. A common website can enlist the latest albums released and users can listen to 30-40 sec preview as well as download 1-2 free tracks from the album. Alternate ideas can be selling individual tracks instead of a complete album.


I think most of us have “pirated” songs from 90s, 80s or even years before that, and most of them are of real bad quality. It would be cool to get original soundtracks as a package for example; buying songs for Jodha Akbar would give me other A R Rehman album free or at real subsidized rates. The idea is to match the downloaded genres and package the songs. This tactic can be even more fruitful for a movie especially because there is a huge hunt for downloading old movies at times.


Probably sounds cliché but I am pretty sure this will work awesomely well. A portal should target the audience by identifying and tracking their movie choices, artists they like, the music genres etc. Connect the users socially, use FB, orkut to make users feel that their choices are heard and make recommendations to them accordingly. Amazon’s recommendation algorithm is an excellent example of that.

Imagine if you log-on to the music portal and you see “Welcome XXXX, we have recommendations for you” or “Since you are a die-hard Rock music fan here is what other people recommend”. The whole intention is to give the user an experience that their preferences are a top priority. I think these days a lot of time is spent on identifying the “right” website to download pirated music and then searching within the website to find your genre. Studios should think about this issue faced by us (aka the “pirates”) and tackle it accordingly.


It’s safe to say that most of the music these days is distributed through mobile. The mass distribution is then done through Bluetooth. There are these small shops which fill up 1GB of memory for ~200 bucks. An approximation would mean 1 song for 1 rupee. The studios, record labels should start doing math like this and setup kiosks to compete with these shops. I mean who wouldn’t like original soundtracks for even Rs.2/-?.

Obviously such a strategy can be extended to videos, movies etc. I have heard rumors that such kiosks are started, but personally I haven’t seen any one.

Okay, people still may do piracy for new movies, content etc but I think the step has to be taken in right direction. I am a firm believer that taking some action is definitely better than demonstrations or doing jigs or lighting candles to “STOP PIRACY”.

Grow up productions houses and notice it’s the internet era where distribution is not a competitive advantage? Take a leaf out of piracy and counterattack them, just legalize the piracy! If you do not, then I am sure you will after reading about MGM Bankruptcy.

What do you think guys?

  1. Asser says

    Yes! I think you are absolutely right Ravi.They are very smart and they know ultimately they will get the benefit.

  2. Achyuthan Sundarrajan says

    A clearly conscious post, Mr. Ravi. But how far it’ll prove useful is a huge question-mark…

    The points i have to tell you are:
    1. Only a very small proportion of Indians know that they can “STEAL” music, or worse, they actually “STEAL” music when they download it from the internet.
    2. A majority of such tracks just come bundled as “Tracks of a movie”, so taking steps based on genre needs a long way to go.
    3. I’ve seen a couple of kiosks in my locality, but they are attended to only by the janitors of the malls in which they’re installed.
    4. Most importantly, Piracy is attractive. I’m sure most Indians are using their copies of XP, Vista or Win7 which are genuinely pirated. Reason? Why pay for something when you can get it for free???

    I just hope all of us get to be as conscious as you are, Mr. Ravi.
    Excellent post!!

    1. Ravi says

      Thanks for your comments Achyuthan.

      About your 4th point. I certainly believe that Software giants are aware of this piracy and deliberately do not make special efforts for it. Though you do see verifications/validations on and off.

      I guess the idea in that case is to get you addicted and hope to get revenues out someday. I mean ppl in Asian countries have been using Windows for years now, they are totally use to it. If tomorrow there are hard-rules I dont expect users to shift to Linux or Mac, they will stick to windows and pay for it. Obviously the process of making us pay has started and will gradually increase. Its just a matter of time.

      Let me tell you one thing these huge firms are smart!

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