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Indian industry study pushes for adopting DRM in country

[From Our Correspondent] GOA, India, Nov 24: Indian national commerce chambers FICCI has pushed for the adoption of an "efficient" digital rights management (DRM) system, and said this would give "a fillip to the fast-growing Indian digital entertainment and media industry".

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry took this stand in a study jointly done with the PriceWaterhouseCoopers titled 'Entertainment & Media: India Going Digital' and released even as India launched the 38th edition of its international film festival in the coastal state of Goa.

This joint-study called for an efficient DRM system "that allows management and protection of digital content". It also sought "technology-agnostic, forward-looking and robust regulatory policies balanced with self-regulation and cross-industry agreements" saying these were the "need of the hour" for India.

Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access-control technologies used by publishers and copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. It is also used to describe restrictions associated with specific instances of digital works or devices.

DRM is sometimes seen as a controversial issue. Advocates argue it is necessary for copyright holders to prevent unauthorized duplication of their work to ensure continued revenue streams. Opponents say it involves "restrictions" on users, rather than rights.

Some critics have likened DRM schemes to anti-competitive practices.

FICCI said their study showed the rise of digital media threw up issues that "Indian stakeholders need to take cognisance of".

"Among these, copyright issues are at the foremost which impact exploitation of digital content across 'new media'. Technology issues, especially those relating to inter-operability of equipments and devices at consumer premises are also to be dealt with," said FICCI's media coordinator Taresh Arora.

Digital piracy, though at a nascent stage, will also be a challenge for the Indian stake-holders with proliferation of digital media to the large Indian masses, argued Arora, while underlining the need for a DRM system.

New technologies and growing digital solutions are "creating great opportunities for content providers in India to monetise their valuable content across various digital media and devices", FICCI said.

But the migration to digital formats is having an adverse impact on competing revenue streams, the organisation argued citing its study.

FICCI admitted that there would be a price to pay.

It said: "An issue for content providers and distributors is the degree to which they utilize DRM software to control distribution. DRM restricts the ability of consumers to copy and distribute products. The benefit to content providers is that DRM limits unauthorized distribution. There is also a cost. Restrictions on usage, which include the inability of content downloaded on one device to play on another, can discourage some consumers from buying product through legitimate channels. Companies are grappling with this trade-off."

Technical controls on the reproduction and use of software have been used since the 1970s. More recently, the term 'DRM' has been used to describe measures to control copyrightable artistic content.  Some says DRM technologies could enable publishers to enforce access policies that not only prevent copyright violations, but also prevent legal fair use, according to those criticial of these approaches.

DRM is mostly used in the entertainment -- film and recording -- industry. It has been deployed in other fields as well, like in online music stores.

FICCI said that because of increasing pressure on the industry itself, music companies are considering releasing music over the Internet without copy protection, which would fuel Internet distribution and revenue growth by allowing music downloaded to be played on virtually any device.

"With physical distribution falling rapidly, labels are becoming more receptive to strategies that enhance digital distribution even as it reduces impediments to unauthorized distribution," FICCI noted.

"Companies are experimenting with different approaches to intellectual property management. It is expected that technologies, methodologies, and business models will continue to evolve during the next several years," said FICCI.

Frederick Noronha in Goa, India


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About frederick_noronha

NORONHA Frederick

Frederick Noronha is a festival reporter with and
Covering the festival scene from Goa Festival and more to come .



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