The government brought the OTT under the broadcasting ministry yesterday, and soon the rules will be out, giving details of what is allowed and what’s not. But what about its piracy? In the past, movies were released in the theatre. The pirated version which came up online was either screen recording through camera inside the theatre or the DVD copy which gets released a few months later. Today, the movies are directly getting released on the OTT, which means in less than 12 hours the copy is available for download, because the original copy itself is in the digital format, unlike the theatre, where the content is played on the screen for the viewers to watch it once.
Talking about regulating the content, are you going to ban scenes or dialogues from all the releases in the last 3 years? let’s say if you ban something, how are you going to stop people from watching which is already available on the internet openly for download? Today everything is available on torrent and people are downloading the videos and watching them for free. How would you manage that? Forget about the official website where only a few thousand people pay for monthly or yearly subscription to watch the content. The same is available elsewhere on many websites. How many websites will you block? The content will be shifted to the new cloud server, what are you going to do then, keep blocking?
Why go behind the OTT platforms showing some semi-nude scenes uttering foul language using bad words? Why not go behind millions of porn websites, why not block them first? Today, in 2020, if you ban anything on the internet, it doesn’t make any sense. People have access to fast internet on their smartphones, the whole movie is shared in parts through messaging apps and watched online. How are you going to regulate this free flow of content? Harsh rules applied in many gulf countries cannot be implemented in India, because you don’t want people to hate you, you don’t want to lose their votes.
So in the end, the regulations will be brought to satisfy some group of audiences who are raising voices about the content, but at the same time, there will be loopholes so that people don’t get annoyed. For example, there would be disclaimers before the scene or a dialogue “Drugs is injuries to your health” or “Extra-marital affairs is injuries to your family life” or “Using bad words is a crime”.
In my opinion, OTT content cannot be clutched or regulated unless there is a blanket ban, which is impossible. People have got the taste of OTT during the pandemic lockdown. They love OTT and don’t want to go to the theatre except for movies like James Bond and Top Gun.