Piracy in Ludhiana, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Hyderabad

The Offset Printer's Association (OPA) has a complaint against Adobe. At their executive meeting on 22 August 2013, they raised the issue of "Adobe Systems India threatening letters to the printers, time and again." OPA's contention is, Adobe is sending these letters asking the printers to "send internal technical information about the company and usage of Adobe software in computers." The reply to this reply was to be submitted within seven days otherwise Adobe would take "drastic action".

25 Aug 2013 | By Ramu Ramanathan

To prove their point, Adobe attached press clippings about the raid at the premises of some printers. In a press release, the OPA committee was troubled that "the letter was sent to the printers who are not using computers and some of these are not having the computers for the past 13 years."

Kamal Chopra who is at the helm of OPA operations stated, "The OPA house unanimously condemned the unlawful and unethical activities of Adobe India.” Further it said, “In these competitive times everyone has busy schedules and Adobe has no right to harass or threaten anyone to send them any information or reply to them.”

This is one way to tackle the problem.

Adobe's anti-piracy drive
If one rewinds to the first quarter of this year in March, Adobe announced a promotional pricing of Rs 2,885 per month for its Creative Cloud for Teams (CCT) offering. The regular pricing for CCT was Rs 4,040 per month once the promotions ended on30 April. Additionally, members would get cloud storage of 100GB (per CCT user) along with the ability to sync to any device enabling them to access files anywhere anytime.

 Speaking at the launch, Umang Bedi, managing director -  South Asia, Adobe said, “We’ve seen an incredible uptake,  with more than one million individuals in the US and globally joining Adobe Creative Cloud, of this, 3,26,000 are first time paid users. Every week since then, has seen an addition of 10,000 new paid subscribers, which raked in $155 million in the first six months.”

“Our goal is to now make Creative Cloud the ultimate hub for creative professionals in India, where they can access the world’s best tools; store and collaborate across their workplace and ultimately showcase their creations. With the easy availability of our products through the Creative Cloud and the attractive price points, we do see a significant impact on the piracy rate of our products”, he further added.

This created a bit of a stir among the print fraternity in Mumbai and Pune. 

Co-operation is the key
After the initial indignation, the senior and respected print firms in Maharashtra decided that one way to resolve this issue was for printers to talk to each other and seek help.

In 2010 and 2011, three premier associations, Bombay Master Printer's Association, Mumbai Mudrak Sangh and Maharashtra Mudran Parishad had taken the initiative and negotiated with Adobe, Microsoft and CorelDraw.

The aim was to ensure, these companies provide a one-time limited period offer on products. It also meant that the deal was the lowest possible rates and provide justice to last year's buyer, through economical rates for upgradation.

More importantly, there was a dialogue between the print firms and the software giants which would prevent harassment from the law authorities.

Piracy in Aurangabad, Nagpur and Hyderabad
In the midst of all this, I am informed by Anand Limaye about the piracy of books. These are textbooks and educational books printed at the Mumbai-based India Printing Works.

Limaye has sought the help of the authorities and conducted raids at one shop at Aurangabad where 6,000 copies were traced. The alleged culprit has been arrested. Next a raid was conducted in Nagpur where "the main person is absconding".

And finally there were raids in Hyderabad. Once again, pirated books that were ready to despatch were discovered and then, confiscated. Limaye says, "We found tracings with imprint line of India Printing Works and a few printed forms and signatures."
Limaye intends to file a FIR so that culprits are not permitted to go scot-free. Limaye feels, "Shall I keep quiet and let them attack my business, which affects me financially, plus my image by printing inferior quality books in the name of India Printing Works.”

This is part of en endemic problem in Mumbai. Pirated copies of fiction, cook books and management books are sold at less than half the Indian cover price. Best-selling titles are available the morning of their worldwide release; at the traffic signals of Mumbai.

This is a long way off from the noble vision of Mumbai in 1669, when Gerald Aungier, who became Governor of Bombay on July 1669, established the mint and printing press in Bombay and developed this city into a centre of commerce. 

Time for some sanity?