Anti Piracy at International Film Festival of India, Goa

International Film Festival GoaI was attending the 45th International Film Festival of India, that happens in Goa every year around this time. Incidentally, I live at a stone throw away distance from the venues so I happened to visit it many times. The venues were wearing a festive look with the festival motif – the colorful Indian National Bird Peacock was everywhere. In between there was a Standee saying that the festival is protected for Piracy by Pinkerton. I was curious and came back and found that it is a 19th CE company that is known for helping corporates manage various kinds of risks.


Here is what I gathered about them :

Pinkerton is one of the oldest and most experienced corporate risk management firms worldwide, established in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton and having close association with FBI. With headquarters in USA, Pinkerton has presence over 100 locations worldwide.  They are one of the leading corporate houses to provide Intellectual Property Protection services across the world. They have been associated with various media houses including Motion Pictures Association of India, Warner Bros. etc. to support them in a host of activities including providing Anti Piracy Partnership Support for their movie releases across the globe. Pinkerton is one of the very few risk management firms with the capability and resources to use Night Vision Glasses for detection of piracy on a commercial level. They were appointed as Anti Piracy Partners for the 15th and 16th Mumbai Film Festival  – wherein they provided Theatre Security and Anti Piracy Services for the entire duration of the festival, spread over six theaters and for over 200 movie screenings. Pinkerton has also for the first time in the history of IFFI 2014 provided for anti cam / piracy services (back with all latest technological gadgets) for India’s oldest and largest Film Festival in collaboration with the Government of India and Ministry of Goa.

Now I was curious to know how they do it, and a bit of research led to this :

Pinkerton helps provide an on ground enforcement and coordination structure across various theaters. They position teams of covert / covert agents at every location considering the Probability of Interception. These agents are trained and backed with latest technological equipment and can distinguish between Just for Fun type of Pirates and Professional Pirates. They deter piracy by ensuring that no recordings take place and in case of an attempt also help liaison for formal enforcement action.

Anti-piracy operations are through a pre determined approach. The seating arrangements are studied in order to ascertain the most probable seats for piracy that pirates would love to use, and planning accordingly. Projector room is used in order to scrutinize the  security arrangements of movements like entry and exit. The agents are trained to frisk, detect unusual movements and also to notice people who might be behaving out of ordinary. Night Vision Glasses that are used to detect piracy attempts even in pitch darkness.

Now, what we do not realize as common visitors to such festivals – who are there to enjoy films and their favorite artists & film makers, that piracy of movies screened at these festivals can be a big deterrent to the industry. Festivals are a place for the film makers and artists to network and learn from each other and showcase their work to their potential audiences. Films are capital intensive products and intellectual property of the producers. Piracy is a big threat to their commercial viability specially with ubiquitous technology that makes it very easy to copy movies illegally.

Anuradha Goyal