Shop for music rights

Published: Tuesday, Jul 16, 2011,
By Express News Service, The New India Express | Place: Bangalore | Agency: IBN Live

BANGALORE: “The music industry loses more than Rs 200 crore per year due to ‘mobile chip piracy,” said Savio D’Souza, General Secretary of Indian Music Industry (IMI), addressing the media in Bangalore. He is also the CEO and vice president of Music Mobile Exchange (MMX), a programme that helps the mobile stores to sell music legitimately.

In an industry-based initiative the IMI has conceptualised something known as the ‘MMX licence.’ Digitised music can easily be copied from any storage device like computer hard disc or USB drive and mobile phone with stored music into the built-in memory of a mobile phone or memory cards or chips which can be further distributed to other phones. When such violation is done for commercial gain without the permission of copyright owners it is the violation of Copyright Act 1957 and is termed as ‘Mobile Chip Piracy’. By opting for the MMX licence, given by the them, shopkeepers can become legitimate music right holders and sell music without violating the Copyright Act, pointed out D’Souza.

The licence can be taken for a period of one to three years at a minimal cost which ranges from `500 to `5,000 per month per computer depending on the kind of shop and location of the shop. �

Music on mobile phones is a very big market and includes products like ring tones, true tones, ring back tones, full song mobile downloads, music videos. Collection of the licence fee by IMI is done on yearly basis. The IMI claims, through its own independent survey, that an average shopkeeper earns a minimum of ` 7,500 to `12,500 by music downloads and other music applications thus making the licence fee a reasonable amount for the shop owners.

Today, there are around 142 music labels associated with IMI. Focusing on the emerging mobile chip piracy IMI conducted more than 1,000 raids in India in 2010. They have conducted more than 150 training programs with the police, judiciary and public prosecutors.

“The MMX program has been implemented in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal with positive results. Now we want to expand it to Karnataka too. The work will be done in phases. On July 4 we conducted our first raid on the Internet and caught a man selling music through his website. We carried the operation in association of Bombay Cybercrime Cell. We want the local companies to benefit from this program, specially the ones producing regional music. But we have to build capacity and create awareness on a very large scale,” said D’Souza.