A study published in 2008 found that piracy cost the entertainment industry more than Rs. 16,000 crores annually. Close to 40% of potential revenue is also lost every year, resulting in a reduction in total output that leads to a loss of 820,000 jobs in the film and music industry.
The numbers are staggering.
But engineering students in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu have come up with a simple invention that could help stem the growing menace of piracy.
Students of the Electronics and Communication Engineering Department of Mailam Engineering College in Villupuram have developed a device that uses infrared sensors to fight piracy.
Developed by final-year students K Anandhraj and A Durai Raj, the device uses 384 infrared light emitting diodes (LEDs). These are arranged in 16 rows and 24 columns with a screen size of 300mm by 370mm to radiate a frequency of 43kHz, with 12v, 2amp DC power supply.
The device will be placed behind theatre screens and will emit radiation that, although invisible to the human eye, will blur images on recording devices.
Explains Anandhraj to The Times of India, “When someone attempts to record a film on the screen using a video camera or mobile phone, the radiation emitted by the device will create optical water marking on the screen. It will blur the image. Thus the motion picture image on screen is completely blurred, when seen through a camera, but will be clear for the human eye. Only the blurred white image will be captured in the camera on the other side. So no more pirated videos, as theatre prints, can be recorded.”
Talking about their motivation behind the project, the students told The Deccan Chronicle, “When a movie is released in theatres, the very next day, pirated CDs – the so-called ‘theatre print’ – will be available in shops . This is one of the major threats to the film industry. So we decided to address the issue as part of our project.”