Filmmakers continue to sweat over curbing piracy; Sudeep-starrer Pailwaan, the latest victim
Many Kannada films released recently, such as Singha, Nanna Prakara, and Kurukshetra have been victims of piracy
The release of every film brings with it equal doses of stress, thrill, and joy. However, now, there is a new emotion felt by filmmakers and producers — fear of piracy, which has spread like wildfire in every industry.
The rampant problem has brought on the scene anti-piracy companies that are battling to protect movies and television shows from hackers and pirates. According to Girish Kumar N, the founder of Aiplex Software Private Ltd, his team of 120 vigilant executives are busy pulling down the URLs of Pailwaan over the last 3 days.
“We started seeing the clips of Pailwaan on the internet at 7 am, on September 12, on the day of its release, and the Telugu version of the full movie was uploaded at around 4.15 pm. The Kannada version was out on Friday morning. During the last three days, we have pulled down, and blocked around 5,000 URLs,” says Girish, adding, “It was more or less the same case when Kurukshetra was released. We had spotted around 5,000 URLs in the first three days then, and it still continues.”
Chaitanya N, who runs Anti Piracy Solutions based in Hyderabad, and has handled the work for several Kannada films, including KGF, Natasaarvabhowma, Kavaludaari, Rustum, I Love You, and Aadi Lakshmi Purana, says, “Telugu or Hindi films are uploaded quickly on the internet, just after the morning show. In the case of Kannada films, it takes between 24 hours and 48 hours. However, big-budget films with a huge star appear on the same day.”
Girish also points out that compared to Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu films, Kannada movies were subject to piracy a bit late. “Bollywood has been facing piracy problems for ages, followed by Tamil and Telugu industries. The first film we picked was Thithi, but now, the piracy of Kannada films is also on the rise, especially due to exposure of users to the social media, and availability of bandwidth at a lower cost,” he says. “Big pirates are not restricting themselves to one language. They are grabbing every piece of content that is being produced, putting it on their website, or social network,” adds Girish, who has been rendering antipiracy services for 11 years, and has worked for around 1,000 theatrical releases, and 10,000 catalog movies, besides various TV channels.
Rockline Production, who distributed Kurukshetra, engaged a company for tackling piracy, and also appointed a 10-member squad that toured across Karnataka, as well as a separate team for Bengaluru alone, to check on piracy. These squads would keep an eye on ticketing as well as activities inside theatres, says Yatheesh of Rockline Production. The first link of Kurukshetra was uploaded during the week of the release of its Tamil version. “Initially, only the clips appeared. By 9.15 pm, on the day of the release, the full movie was up on social media,” he recalls. “Even today, we see the URL link on websites, it is taken care of by the company that is handling anti-piracy job for us,” adds Yatheesh.
“Today, hackers who are busy pirating films might have the last laugh, but they should know that it will be eradicated at some point of time,” says Karthik Gowda, the executive producer of KGF, and distributor of Pailwaan for Karnataka. “These people will not learn until and unless something of theirs gets stolen. There is no point in telling them not to do because they have become thick-skinned. By doing this, they feel they have achieved something. But they are living in a false world. Ultimately, all of it is affecting cinema, and people who have invested crores of rupees,” he says.
According to Girish, hackers should not be given importance by identifying them. “I would not wish to name any particular websites, because it is will give them benefit, and they will enjoy the popularity. Instead, we have to silently do the background work and see how we can negate the risk,” says, explaining that while small clippings can be made and circulated for the kick of it, the issue becomes a real threat for producers when the full movie appears online. “This is an organised crime, and cannot be an individual’s job,” says Girish.