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Digital piracy, amid the Pandemic, still an issue: Arivazhagan on directing Tamilrockerz

Headlined by Arun Vijay, Tamilrockerz streams on SonyLIV.

Digital piracy, amid the Pandemic, still an issue: Arivazhagan on directing Tamilrockerz

Last Updated: 10.08 AM, Aug 20, 2022


Arivazhagan's Tamilrockerz (streaming on SonyLIV) shows how piracy groups operate and how a film copy is obtained just hours after its release... Or, even worse, well before its theatrical release!

Written by Manoj Kumar Kalaivanan and bankrolled by the legendary AVM Productions, Tamilrockerz follows the journey of Rudra, a cop, played by Arun Vijay, who battles a notorious piracy group during the release of a superstar's much-anticipated film.

"The web series not only tells the story of the industry but also delves into the emotions of hundreds of technicians, who work in it. Tamilrockerz reflects the pain that people go through because of these illegal websites," says Arivazhagan (Eeram and Kuttram 23).

The director goes on to explain, "The audience will get to see how the team at Tamilrockers get the print and upload them, and this should pique everybody's interest."

Tamilrockerz is important to Arivazhagan as it marks his foray into the OTT space. "With a web series, the entire screenplay pattern changes. The plot of a feature film revolves around the protagonist and antagonist, and all other characters must be written concerning them. However, with the web-series format, we focus on subplots and give each character enough screen time," he says.


According to Arivazhagan, the total traffic on these sites is roughly estimated to be 60 million. Tamilrockers continue to wreak havoc even today, despite the proliferation of OTT platforms where films are legally released, he observes. "Typically, these piracy organisations obtain their content directly from theatres and OTT platforms and distribute it through their websites and mobile Apps. The videos are made available via torrent websites, third-party cyberlockers, user-generated platforms, and offshore servers. Piracy is becoming an unavoidable challenge. The problem is that everyone sees it as an industry’s or a person’s problem, not a public problem. If the Government takes a stand, it can shut down these websites in a day."

For the uninitiated, Tamilrockers was a piracy website operated by a group that's largely unknown, but according to some reports, they were formed around 2011. Torrent sites like Pirate Bay were the go-to platforms for downloading pirated content for free at the time.

Arun Vijay in Tamilrockerz
Arun Vijay in Tamilrockerz

There is no doubt that piracy has eaten into the film industry. There were widespread allegations that film piracy, such as Udta Punjab, which found its way to torrent sites ahead of their theatrical releases, was the work of censors. Previously, pirated copies were traced back to prints sent to overseas markets and arriving in Tamil Nadu only a day after their initial release. This has changed in recent years, owing largely to technological advancements.

A large number of people in Bengaluru and other parts of Tamil Nadu appear to be engaging in piracy by recording from small-town theatres with smartphones, camcorders, or even E-projectors (not 2K or 4K). According to a recent survey conducted by the anti-piracy cell, pirated movies are increasingly being seen in India "on the move, in trains and planes, on smartphones and laptops."

Now, how can this problem be effectively addressed? The youth, who are the primary consumers of cinema, ought to be informed about its negative effects through information sharing. All films should also include a statutory warning, similar to anti-smoking warnings. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting, or duplicating an illicit copy of copyrighted content on a blocked site could result in a three-year prison term and a fine of up to Rs 3 lakh, which could deter perpetrators. Unless the Tamil film industry joins forces in its fight, the future of the film industry appears bleak.

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