Seventeen days after YouTube took down Shirish Kunder’s ‘Kriti’ (Mirror, June 30) following copyright infringement claims from Nepali filmmaker Aneel Neupane, the short film is back on the video-sharing website.Shortly after ‘Kriti’s’ release, on June 22, Aneel wrote a Facebook post citing similarities between Shirish’s debut short and his own, ‘BOB’, which he claimed had released seven months earlier, on Vimeo.
Elated that “truth has won over bogus allegations”, Shirish told Mirror, “The other party demanded Rs 25 lakh in compensation for “stealing their script.” While many believe that filmmakers will put in any amount of money to end a case, we wanted to do it the right way. I had registered my script with the Film Writers Association in Mumbai and Writers Guild of America three years ago, so I had nothing to fear. While the other party waited for us to cough up the money, we waited for 14 days to present all the evidence. We did lose a lot of time in the process. We had reached three million views and were hitting five lakh on a daily basis. The momentum is lost now and we will have to start from scratch.”
Shirish goes on to explain how his film being taken down has affected it in more ways than just hits. “YouTube has an automated process in place that takes down a video if anyone claims copyright infringement. Then the person on whose claims the video is taken down, is given 14 days to substantiate his claim. This is when frauds do not revert, and blackmail filmmakers whose reputation, time and money is at stake, to retract their claim. This is popularly known the world over as DMCA abuse. Such people use platforms like Vimeo and Facebook which have features to post back dated videos to fool the public. It has no legal relevance.”
Next up, the filmmaker-editor is going after Aneel and Co. “For any filmmaker, people who seek two minutes of fame are a nuisance. After we provided evidence, the other party has disappeared and has not got back to us even once. We have filed a lawsuit of Rs 5 crore for defamation and in damages. I request the Indian media to not make heroes out of such people,” he fumes. Moving on to future projects, the filmmaker-editor informs that he is now planning to turn ‘Kriti’ into a full-length feature film.”The idea stemmed from public reaction to our film. The YouTube comment section is flooding with requests from fans for a full-length feature version,” adds the 43-year old filmmaker.