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The Hindu calls out those who forward its 'e-paper'

Says it's a violation of the Copyright Law and asks people to subscribe to the e-paper instead.

Go back 15 years, think the word 'piracy' and see what's the first image that pops in your head. Eight out 10 people will either say it's to download movies using 'torrents' or to buy a CD near the railway station with the latest movie releases on it.

Fast forward to 2020 and piracy has begun to see a new form – the illegal distribution of newspaper e-copies. Yes, you read it right. As more people move online to read e-papers, their illegal distribution over social media has begun to eat enough parts of revenue that the news barons have taken notice. And the first one to point this out it is The Hindu.

The Hindu calls out those who forward its 'e-paper'

For its July 3 e-paper edition, the newspaper carried a front-page ad that asked the reader how he got his hands on the e-paper. If the reader had received the paper through a forward, then he violated the Copyright Law. The ad then asked the reader to tell the sender of the forward to stop doing so and instead subscribe to the paper. The ad was curated by Brand Marketing and Digital Teams of The Hindu Group.

Pradeep Gairola, vice president and business head – Digital Media, told us that during the challening times, The Hindu and other publishers continued to serve readers with physial and digital offerings as The Hindu's brand of trusted journalism serves a larger purpose that's even more important than before.

"Our e-Paper is a paid subscription product and it is important consumers see value in and pay for our content, that is put together through lots of painstaking effort at a significant cost. As digital consumption of our news products grows, it is important to ensure that we can transition to a subscription-based business model on all our digital products, including the e-Paper.

Free sharing of our e-Paper hurts us. We believe many of our subscribers who share the e-Paper with larger groups, are not aware of the implications of this action and the fact that they are in violation of Copyright Law in doing so.

It is also our belief that consumers of our products believe in supporting credible journalism by subscribing to our products. The objective of the campaign is to educate existing subscribers and find new subscribers by appealing to the conscience of readers who inadvertently consume free forwards of the e-Paper.

We are encouraged by the response so far and are hopeful that this campaign will help us in ensuring more readers consume our fairly priced and user-friendly e-Paper and other digital products responsibly."

The pandemic induced lockdown had devastated newspaper delivery systems which prompted an increased readership of e-papers. While most newspaper companies offered them for free during the lockdown, many have now put them behind paywalls as the country's emerged out of the lockdown in most areas.

However, the menace of a subscriber sharing the e-paper on social media and sometimes charging for it is something that wasn't expected to reach such alarming levels.