It is no secret that piracy sites like TamilRockers pose a huge threat to movies. Vijay’s latest film Sarkar was leaked within a few hours of its release and so was Vada Chennai and Thugs of Hindostan. A couple of weeks ago, rumours were abuzz that “2.0 was coming soon on the website” — following a tweet from an unverified handle of TamilRockers’ (later suspended) threatening to leak Rajinikanth’s much-awaited sci-fi film. However, eventually, TamilRockers claimed they never had an account on Twitter.
With the magnum opus hitting the screens tomorrow, we hear team Lyca Productions is working round the clock to fight piracy. Executive producer Sundar told indianexpress.com, “We have got a ‘technical’ team of ten people who are involved in this. I don’t want to elaborate much on the measures we have taken to curb piracy because it needs to be ‘silently dealt with’. We met the authorities concerned in both Chennai and Delhi and they assured us that some concrete steps will be taken. Also, I am sure ‘links’ won’t open if someone searches for 2.0 online.”
One of the publicists of 2.0 said he “doesn’t understand how the process works”, but assured, “someday TamilRockers will be nabbed.” The publicist insisted, “as an industry, we need to reduce the demand for piracy, and take a larger look at how they thrive. That is through the income they get from the ads they host on the sites. They don’t make money from the direct downloads.”
According to treasurer SR Prabhu of Tamil Film Producers Council, fighting piracy is similar to ‘clearing the garbage’. “We do try and keep our circle clean, but somehow, someone or the other keeps littering the space.” Prabhu said, “Say, one domain is blocked, they come up with another. And it becomes tough to track them. So far, we have blocked close to 900 illegal movie download sites and requested the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to look into this. These websites change their domains often. Additionally, we have sent representations to them yesterday.”
He stressed that the Central Government should intervene and put an end to piracy. “When they can control ticket prices in theaters, I don’t understand why much isn’t being done in this regard. What’s required is stricter enforcement of legislation and laws, between Central and State Governments, besides basic awareness about the whole issue. Nothing can be done single-handedly.”
Interestingly, digital cinema provider Qube has an invisible forensic watermark attached to prints of films they distribute, points out a trade analyst. He added, “Looking at the watermark, it’s possible to say from which theater has the film been recorded from.”
A single-screen theater owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, said it has become a huge task for the management to monitor the audience, preventing them from using mobile phones. “Theaters need to be more vigilant. Everyone has a smartphone these days, and the moment their favourite hero appears on the screen, they are tempted to click a picture and post it on social media. Unfortunately, some don’t stop with it. We have got a team to intimate us in case of on spot recording. I would have at least two or three staff who move from row to row to find out if someone is recording. If we are doubtful, we do check phones. Some of the theaters have CCTV cameras installed in their projection rooms to ensure they are clean,” he added.
How easy or challenging is it to duplicate 3D prints? “Mostly, it’s believed it’s tough to duplicate. We, in India, are still warming up to the format. But you never know,” he laughed.