As the world and millions of Super Star Rajini fans gear out to celebrate the release of his latest film Kaala, a small story is playing out in the background.
PR agency for Vishal, the Antipiracy cell of the TFPC proudly announced the instant capture of an individual who was illegally live streaming Kaala on Facebook. Following this, as usual, there have been a few publicity activities, built on Vishal’s efficiency in capturing pirates etc.
But a peep into the TR website still shows that Kaala is available, even before the first formal show release in India. So, what’s the point of all this, totally baffles me? Are people even bothered about the ‘odd’ individual who gets caught? Beyond a few URL seizures/blocks and the arrest of a few individuals has there been any meaningful progress to the initiative ve ? The film is out there, and that’s what should really matter, and not that the TFPC got an individual arrested. The day, the TFPC ensures that a new film release does not get uploaded online in any website /torrent for one full day atleast with ‘zero’ , is when it can hold its head high and say that Vishal and his team have truly succeeded. But is this even meaningfully possibly in a world where every one has recording devices and instant access to the Internet? Technology is several stacked against the film industry which for decades has enjoyed the benefits of the centralised top-down copyright industry. But now things are different.
All of these activities from the TFPC in my opinion are possibly geared to only raising the profile of its leader, Vishal.
With regard to the arrest, forget the ‘odd’ guy. There have been several such instances in the past. Do the public even remember all that? How long will media sustain this news? Few hours, 1-2 days at most. Has the TFPC addressed/audited the loopholes in its own legitimate chain, right from the point of censorship to the storage of films, to the point where they are transmitted through a DSP to theatres? The Vox article on Tamilrockers made several stark allegations, of moles and purposeful leaks from within the industry itself.
In a decentralised internet world, TR could very well be directly and indirectly, supported by millions of individuals. Mere URL blocking can never serve as a permanent solution to this problem. More importantly, with the emergence of small budgeted ‘web series’ and the thriving rise of social media as a preferred engagement medium of choice, the film industry as a whole needs to assess its own future, if it can even survive in traditional forms, going into the future.
TR and piracy may have a strong role in the industry’s downfall, a few decades from now, but legitimate entertainment forms will have a much larger role.