Ferreting out those involved in the copyright infringement of the film Ap Bokto

Piracy: The producer of the popular animated film, Ap Bokto, managed to narrow down  to four suspects allegedly involved in copyright infringement of the film almost two months after it was leaked.

Athang Animation Studio’s proprietor, Karma Dhendup, who produced the film, said there were also people from his organisation among the four involved.  Right after the film was leaked in February, Athang Animation Studio started its own investigation.

Karma Dhendup said they were collecting more evidence, after which they would deal with the suspects accordingly. “We’re considering a court case, but first we want to know whether it (the leak) was intentional or by mistake,” he said.

With the source of leakage suspected to be from Athang, Karma Dhendup said there has been a lot of pressure from his colleagues as well, to narrow down the suspect soon, so that it became clear among themselves.  With copyright infringement issues being inevitable, he said the damage was already done. “We’re now looking at ways to recover the cost,” he said.

While the English voiceover for Ap Bokto has been completed, Athang Animation Studio is also looking at other value-added products in a bid to recover the cost of investment.

About 40 percent of about Nu 4.5M (million) had been recovered to date, Karma Dhendup said, which included the sale of about 4,700 comics in Dzongkha, of the 5,000 that were printed.

Athang Animation Studio took over two years and cost about Nu 4.5M.  About 30 people were involved in the production.  The animation film that features the voice of comedian Phurba Thinley was an instant hit among children when it was released last September.   It was screened until December.

Following  high demand, the film was to be made available in DVDs later.  With the movie just screened in Thimphu, the producer wanted to screen it in the rest of the country before which it was leaked.

The film was scheduled for screening in other dzongkhags by the beginning of the academic session. “Unfortunately, even before we could do that, the film was leaked,” Karma Dhendup said.

By Kinga Dema