Movie Piracy Rampant in India – Ranked 4th worldwide in Illegal Downloads !


India is ranked fourth in the world when it comes to Illegal downloads, behind US, UK and Canada. This is the finding of the survey conducted by Motion Picture Distributors Association (MPDA) in conjunction with Envisional and DtecNet, two global firms engaged in providing software solutions to track and prevent piracy of digital content and online business.


Now, although India is ranked 4th globally, I think, purely from the density of Internet users resorting to illegal piracy, we will be Number 1 by a big margin. Think about it – In India Internet penetration is one of the lowest, coupled with very low bandwidth speeds – Even then we are ranked number 4 in the world. So, with fraction of user base compared to top 3 countries, we still ranked so high.

The report mentioned that online piracy of film and television content in India is mainly through file-sharing networks like BitTorrent and cyberlockers, or web-based file hosts such as RapidShare and Mediafire.

Another interesting finding was that – India had the highest level of film piracy in any English-speaking country.

Just to give you an perspective of illegal downloads – Hindi Movie “Kaminey” was downloaded over 350,000 times on BitTorrent with around two-third of downloaders located in India alone ! Imagine the kind of revenue producers have lost.

Now, this is just online – what about offline piracy, the street vendors who sell pirated CDs and DVDs – I am sure there count must be running in hundreds of thousands as well !

Here is a Fact to think about – According to an Ernst and Young 2008 report on “The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry”, the Indian film industry lost $959 million and 571,896 jobs due to piracy.

  1. […] far as bollywood producers go, I wonder if streaming services will give them some respite from the rampant piracy in India and the huge revenue loss from the […]

  2. GM says

    what if i went to a shit movie, which was rated highly by reporters who were paid by film makers, and ended up losing my money and my peace of mind? id rather download the movies according to my choice. producers already make millions but their greed is insatiable. i dont care whether the producers are losing money or not, either way im not going to get any of it.

  3. vinod bhardwaj says

    There is a tremendous loss in the company due to piracy and taxes are stolen .Because of the music/video/ movies are affected too. I know that nothing can be done of my thinking alone , but if tried and taking proper measures ,it would be beneficial for the company. Piracy has spread its roots all over Himachal and other states
    save music kill piracy

    contact for copyright protection in Himachal and Punjab-08091420061, 09816820001—[email protected]

  4. craju says

    kill piracy save film industry.

  5. salman khan says

    why dont they ban websites like piratebay and bittorrrent?

  6. Max says

    It is sad. We are quick to criticize corruption in government etc. but we do ourselves as we cheat / steal by encouraging piracy for our benefit.

  7. Arun Prabhudesai says

    Madhav, some good points there by Devil’s advocate – First up, legally speaking you cant make a copy of the content your bought, it is meant for viewing purposes only :), if you do, it is a criminal offence –

    But I dont want to go there…It is a cat & mouse game and technology will always be the winner.
    I also dont like the stick approach that music / video Industry has taken – I think it is time that online Industry adopts Technology in such a way that piracy may die a slow death.

    I think like Liju mentioned they should actually start screening movies online at dirt cheap rates – People who go to theaters will always go there…While who want to download might as well do it legally due to such low costs…

    I really want to see this kind of approach rather than resorting to policing and stick approach !

  8. Madhav Shivpuri says


    Good post and interesting numbers.

    Frankly, as a consumer, I am confused in my reaction to video piracy. So, I will be the devil’s advocate on this. If somebody has already made a copy of something and put it online, should I not access it? Instead I am required to report it and buy my own copy. Does it make economic sense?

    To prevent/ dissuade people from downloading content or purchasing pirated CD’s the officials are putting buyers and sellers or downloaders behind bars.

    A comparision- Would I pay $30 monthly subscription fees to financial times (FT) or WSJ for online news content if BBC and CNN are giving for free? If not, then would I pay $30 for a movie CD if there is a free version online or a $3 pirated CD?

    So, I think the solution should not be to punish the people who are taking part in buying or downloading content, but to prevent how the content is created. For example: When video cassettes were used for watching movies there was hardly any serious levels of piracy. It’s only when the movie producers decided to go digital, they shot themselves in the foot because now they made CD’s and DVD’s but cannot prevent piracy. I think the cause for is the advance in technology which the consumer fast adapting to, and the movie producers wanted the share of the digital consumer market, while still producing video cassettes for the people who owned VCD/ VCR players.

    Yes, obviously we have devices to covert casette tapes into digital content – but I don’t think the piracy from this source is very high.

    The other source of video piracy comes from people recording movies in theatres. The theatre’s these days, I suppose, have strict vigilance into what equipment you take in, including mobile phones. So, if you can restrict it at the source, then its best.

    I am sure the officials try to trace back the IP address of people accessing the pirated content, as well as those posting the content. If somebody is hell bent on ‘sharing’ what they find is interesting, its highly unlikely that the holes can be completely plugged.

    PS: Just a thought came to my mind- the authorities are trying the ‘stick’ technique. Would it help if the officials or movie producers try a ‘carrot’ method where they reward customers buying legitimate CD’s?

  9. Suhasini says

    No wonder everyone knows about torrents here in India but the sad part is people losing jobs and Bollywood facing such a huge loss.

  10. Liju Philip says

    Am not surprised. Its high time the movie industry moved with times and did something to adopt tech instead of trying to fight it. Try to release the movie on free websites like Youtube or put it up on paid websites where people can watch the movie for a fraction of money they spend in the theaters etc.

    Else the movie industry will go the music industry way. Its time the producers bucked up.

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Yeah, I agree with your comment…I think Movie Industry has to adopt new technologies and new media (which I think is happening) – Remember Striker, the new movie that was released online and did so with fair amount of success !

  11. Chanda says

    Hi Arun, I would like to counter here. May be its true that Kaminey was downloaded 350,000 times. But if BT was not an option how many of these 350,000 would had actually bought tickets to watch the movie.

    Its in the same lines with having pirated copy of Windows. If it wouldnt be possible to install a pirated OS how many would have bought Windows?

    We are bombarded with lots of media and when some one is ready to pay for a ticket he require a better experience now.
    Have a post with my views out here Do give it a thought


    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Chanda, read your post – Fair enough argument you have made there.

      Firstly let me tell you that Software piracy is a completely different ball-game all together. In case of Media (Movies, Music) piracy, I think it really makes a difference. Out of 350,000 atleast 50,000 would have gone to see the movie in Theater had it not been available for illegal download. If you would not have pirated MP3s I am sure many of them would have bought legal music CDs.

      Yes, I agree the numbers would be much lesser !

      Also, look at it from the perspective of Movie producer, loosing just 100k customers means a business loss of close to 50 lakh to 1 Cr.

      Also, you mentioned in your post

      “Just that the quality of experience has to be taken at a different level. A level that piracy can’t beat easily. The next couple of Avatars need to have good scripts, as the 3D experience is ‘already experienced’ and it might not drive masses to the box office.”

      I think it is very difficult – Just look at Blue-ray disc Downloads – The picture quality of even the pirated copies is so high and you can enjoy it from comforts of your bedroom and at time of your convenience…nothing can beat that… Technology will be 1 up in giving you better experience at comforts of your home !

      1. Chanda says

        Hi Arun,

        Sorry for the delayed reply. Yes I agree to your views. The main intention was to bring the 350,000 figure down ;) Having said that dont know whether you can get the Avatar experience at Home. I dint even get the right feel until I went to IMAX3D

        Having said all that, yes there are a few really good movies like Kaminey which will pay the price while some solution comes up.


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