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Video piracy
- Ananda Shankar Jayant, Hyderabad

October 8, 2011

There is a website that is uploading brief video clippings of Doordarshan recordings as well as DVD clippings of different dancers.

My Doordarshan recordings, DVDs as well as live performances eg: Konark Festival - Navarasa performance is available on this website, as is nearly every senior dancer's - solo/ group ballet etc.

They are then also selling these, and the range is from 2 - 8/10 in Euros.

There is no contact address on the site except this:

Reach us by email at CONTACTDANCINGINDIA.NET or chat to us online

Our current location :
Office 8, 5 Craigie Avenue, Timaru, New Zealand
tel. 03 669 0120

Obviously there is more than meets the eye. The address is New Zealand, the money is collected in Euros and the content is from Doordarshan and DVDs.

There really is something rotten here.

The recordings are from all over, so we may need to address many organizations in various cities.


I totally agree that it is not right on the part of the site owners to upload these videos without the artistes' permissions.

But I sincerely appreciate the effort that the site has taken in archiving SO MANY videos of artistes of all grades. DD seems to be doing a pathetic job of archiving old videos. They do not have a copy of a legendary production like the "Viralimalai Kuravanji" dance drama that Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam, Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy and Chitra Visweswaran together choreographed and presented for DD years ago. I met one of their officers in the annual Chennai book fair and asked him about this. He said that the tape is in a format that cannot be recovered. I was really pained to know that DD couldn't archive a production like that for the next generation to watch and enjoy. So in a way I'm glad that at least someone else has a copy of these videos. Many of the videos hosted in the site are at least a decade old. There is no other way that youngsters like me would get to watch these videos, but for Dancing India.

I again mention that it is absolutely not right for them to be putting up videos of the artistes without their consent. And I'm glad Dr.Ananda brought this up. But I'm just looking at the bright side of it - someone has these videos for the next generation to watch and enjoy...
- Madhan
9 October 2011

I don't know why Ananda Shankar Jayant is happy when DD airs her programmes but not happy when Dancingindia does the same.

Ananda Shankar Jayant's post has many factual errors:

1.On, there are full videos (for paying members). There are also free brief video clippings of Doordarshan recordings as well as DVD clippings of different dancers.

2. Most of the videos are selling for less than 1 Euro.

3. If there is no contact address on the site, then what is 'CONTACT@DANCINGINDIA.NET' and Office 8, 5 Craigie Avenue, Timaru, New Zealand?

4. Why is it strange that the address is New Zealand but the money is collected in Euros? Most online shops in India accept payments in dollars and/or Euros.
- V Deepa
11 October 2011

Legally, it is absolutely right for them to be putting up videos of the artistes without their consent unless the artistes own copyrights of those videos.
- Vinod
13 October 2011

I agree with Madhan. I enjoy watching so many dancers from the 1980s on YouTube, when video seems to truly become prevalent. There is really no other way I can watch them. We trust state archives but there are very few ways of taking out of them and disseminating what they have collected. Sadly many dancers themselves show no interest in archiving or simply have not given it a thought till they find their videos being sold by a third party. And this reluctance to engage and work with video themselves sometimes stems out of the misconception that if they post videos of their work online, no one will watch them live. I have had people tell me that and when I hear such ridiculous statements I can only shake my head in disbelief.

The site violates performers' rights in not asking them for their permission but what Vinod says might be true - if you've signed over your copyright to someone else it might still be an ethical issue but perhaps not a legal one.
- Ranjana Dave
14 October 2011

Hey, Ranjana, all dancers themselves show interest in archiving, only for their own students. If they post videos of their work online, people will comment and can criticise them,and not everybody can bear it. Ethical issue is not whether some sites ask dancers for permission. Real ethical and legal issue is why all dancers use pirated software. Looks like "the pot calling the kettle black"!
- Jayanthi Raman
14 October 2011

Hello friends,

Thank you for your responses and comments. Let me put this issue into perspective.

Doordarshan (DD) Kendras from across the country have been recording and telecasting dance in its myriad forms over the last 3-4 decades. Some of these have been collated and presented by Doordarshan as various DD archival DVDs and are available for sale.

As artistes, when we perform for DD, we sign contracts and are cognizant and well aware, that DD has the copyrights to these recordings and no further permission will be sought or fees paid by DD to the artistes.

This issue is NOT about DD telecasting/making DVDs for sale, or uploading on the net.
This is about, uploading these recordings - mostly those done for DD.

My questions are:
• Is Dancingindia a subsidiary of DD?
• Have they been given permission by DD to upload and sell?
• If yes, then why is the DD logo removed or super scribed by DI?
• If yes, then why does it not say Doordarshan presents?
• If yes, then why is the address in New Zealand and not in India?
• If yes, why pay in Euros and not rupees?

To me it seems that DD may be officially unaware of this software leakage.

When I brought it to the notice of the DD authorities in Hyderabad a few months ago and also recently by mail, they categorically stated that Dancingindia is not their subsidiary, and are going to take up the matter seriously, from their side too.

Which, by simple deduction means the following:

• There is software leakage from the Doordarshan archives.
• This is happening not in one Kendra but across all kendras.
• There are many people involved in this unethical racket.
• The leaked software is being made available to who in turn are super scribing the video which has a DD logo on it with DI and are making them available for paid downloads from the website

The possibilities for how this maybe happening, could be because :

These recordings are all off telecast recordings (recordings done from the TV set during telecasts,) done over the last few decades, from different telecasts…. a little unlikely given the number of recordings and their geographical spread.
These videos are being made available to Dancing India unofficially from Doordarshan itself from every Kendra, by a group of people.

In both the instances this is fraudulence.

Now the question is why, has this been posted here on narthaki? Because, this issue, affects us all.

Many of you who have responded saying:
• At least someone is doing it
• Yes, we can turn our heads the other way and say ‘at least I get to watch decade old videos.’
• Yes, we can say that copyright in India is a non starter.
• Yes, we can blame our own dance community and say that they don’t like to be copied etc.(That is a separate issue for discussion, as in today’s youtube generation and Youtube natyam, that may be immaterial and irrelevant)
• Yes, we can say ‘It is only a clipping.’ (The clipping on the website of a few minutes is what is available for viewing. If you want the whole item then one has to pay online and get coupons after which a download will be facilitated)
• Yes, we can say , ‘It is less than one euro,’ etc.

But by doing so we are missing the picture. The fact of the matter is that this is fraud and by our silence we are abetting it.

Many of us, have doffed our collective hats to the anti corruption movement in India over the last few months. Many have ‘liked’ the same on their fb pages, others have blogged and tweeted, some have even held banners and placards, showing their solidarity to the case, and some have openly admitted to weeping when fasts were broken.

Now we have a case where, fraud and corruption seem to be happening, and we are ducking under various pretexts? So what do we do?

Well, for starters, I have written to DD Hyderabad, and I’m given to understand that they are taking up the issue seriously.

Each of us could bring it to the notice of DD in whichever Kendra you may have recorded. We could write to the apex bodies of culture and let them know of this fraud.
We could choose to ignore it and abet fraud. The choice is finally one’s own.

My intention of writing about it in narthaki was to flag the issue amongst the dance community. The choice of dealing with the issue, in whatever way, is entirely each one’s finally!

Some of you have also responded with uncalled for belligerence, and personal comments, irrelevant to the topic under discussion. I would love to respond to them too, and will do so if you mail me under your name and not a pseudonym.

Cheers and happy dancing.

Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant
19 October 2011

Re: "Misconception that if they post videos of their work online, no one will watch them live."

Or like if they appear on DD, no one will watch them alive? What is the difference between posting them online and having them broadcast by DD? Appearing on DD used to be like marking of the entering of the elite class of dancers. Putting these videos alongside with some homemade dance videos online is sacrilegious.

A dance student cannot learn an item from a DD broadcast but can from an online/DVD video. Numerous flaws can be seen from watching online video, but not immediately noticeable from a TV broadcast. The reason only DD and one or two other non-commercial channels broadcast this kind of programs is because the commercial channels believe that it is very low quality and will not attract much audience. If you put these programs online, you will see how many people are actually interested in watching it, and for most senior classical dancers it may be hard to acknowledge that very few want to watch them while lots of people watch other, younger classical dancers: this is a threat to the very concept of "seniority" and the hierarchical structures in the classical dance.

At live programs, we are obliged, coerced or forced to mark our attendance and support these artificial hierarchical structures.

Mahesh Mudgal
22 October 2011

@Mahesh Mudgal

I'm going off-topic here, but I don't see why "we are obliged, coerced or forced to mark our attendance and support these artificial hierarchical structures". No one is compelled to mark attendance at any dance event. Even if it is a social obligation, one could equally easily spend some time watching young dancers. I'm a bit weary of these arguments; tell me a new one.

Re: What is the difference between posting them online and having them broadcast by DD?
- Huge difference, because, as you point out yourself, an online video is more in circulation as compared to something that may be broadcast once on DD. And I still maintain that no good performer learns her/ his dancing just by watching YouTube. If you think learning to dance is so easy, you're discounting the rigour of classical dance and the efforts all good dancers make, and that, in my eyes, is very sacrilegious.

I think the only way forward is to rid ourselves of unnecessary paranoia and the tendency to over-interpret how dancers might be feeling. How I see it - most dancers, old and young, appreciate what YouTube can do and are, in greater numbers, testing its strengths and seeing for themselves the benefits of having an online presence.

Ranjana Dave
29 October 2011

There is no controlled archive anywhere for dance videos, Often watching these online videos or other sources, I do buy full DVD. Dr. Ananda, is there a way online where I can watch clippings of all your dance? Please provide such treasure for people and younger generation. We truly need a sangeethapriya for dancers. There are also lot of dance videos on torrents. I enjoy them!

30 October 2011

Side by side with the topic:
1. Great if DD (with all right procedures followed) makes the dance videos (treasure) available.
2. The issue is solved by itself.
3. DD can charge and can even pay some royalty, fee to artists.
4. Perfect for a dancer like Ananda to alert the community.
5. Most other issues melt once (1) is followed.

6 November 2011

I spoke to a few people from DD, and they say DD will never make all the dance archive available because there is no budget for it and nobody will pay for watching the dance videos. DD released a few videos on DVDs that were commercially viable. 99% of the archived videos are not.
- K Lavanya
13 November 2011

On there is one comment, abt Rani Devi and her activities. is still active and seems to be doing brisk business!
- Ganga
18 November 2011

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