Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who left for Washington today, is likely to take up the issue of video and cable piracy with the US authorities. This rampant form of piracy has caused huge losses to both American and Indian entertainment companies.
Many Hollywood films, and films from Asian countries produced by US companies, are pirated as VCDs and video cassettes in India.
India's Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia also raised the issue during his visit to the US last month.
The government, Planning Commission sources told PTI, could consider amending the existing Copyright Act.
According to film industry estimates, trade losses due to piracy in various sectors in India touched $ 311.8 million till 1998.
Cable piracy is clearly the most significant piracy problem now in India, according to the Motion Picture Association.
Unauthorised cable transmissions of films made by companies affiliated to MPA and the American Film Marketing Association have severely undermined their video and theatrical markets.
There are at least 40,000 cable systems in operation in India. Many of them operate a 'Western' channel that illegally beams US-produced content, a large proportion of which comes from pirated copies.
Losses from both cable and video piracy was estimated at $ 66 million in 1996, with video piracy estimated to account for 85 per cent of this amount.