Veteran Indian filmmaker Bobby Bedi warned members of Congress about the massive problems of piracy and counterfeiting plaguing the entertainment industries in India and other developing countries at a special event leading up to World Intellectual Property Day on April 26. Bedi offered remarks in response to a recent study released by Ernst & Young stating that piracy and counterfeiting cost the Indian entertainment industry more than $4 billion a year representing almost 40 percent of their potential annual revenue.
Representative Diane Watson ( D-Calif. ), chair of the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus, noted the rampant piracy problems facing filmmakers like Bedi. "On World Intellectual Property Day we recognize the talent of creators around the globe who enrich our lives with their artistry and innovation. Tonight we hear the story of one filmmaker who has made a tremendous contribution to India's burgeoning entertainment industry. He represents one of the thousands of filmmakers around the world who are victims of piracy."
Congressional Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus Chairs Tom Feeney ( R-Fla. ) and Robert Wexler ( D-Fla. ) also called for efforts to combat piracy here in the United States and abroad.
Michael P. Ryan, director of the Creative and Innovative Economy at the GW Law School, remarked, "Originality and innovation are essential to driving long-term growth in developing economies." He said that piracy creates a real dilemma for filmmakers like Bedi and curtails their imagination. "So long as pirates earn a high share of movie revenues, producers must focus on making relatively inexpensive movies. To finance a grander vision, the creators must receive not just the critical but also the monetary rewards of inventiveness." The Indian film industry is the largest in the world with more than 1,000 films produced each year.
Bedi is critically acclaimed for his work on films including Bandit Queen, Fire and Saathya. He currently is producing a three-film series on the Indian legend, the Mahabharata, which at an estimated cost of $70 million, will be India's most expensive movie venture ever. A television program, entertainment software, and a merchandising campaign also are planned.
World Intellectual Property Day celebrations take place in countries around the globe every year on April 26 and seek to increase public understanding intellectual property and how it shapes our world. This year's Capitol Hill event was organized in advance of the official date designated by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The George Washington University Law School's Creative and Innovative Economy Center believes creativity and innovation are critical tools in fighting the war on poverty, eradicating disease, and improving the quality of human life through the arts and technology. The center's faculty conduct research and organize educational programs that demonstrate how creativity and innovation drive global economic development and contribute to advancements in healthcare.
For more information about the CIEC visit www.law.gwu.edu/ciec.