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Prananatha Surrenders to ITV
by Prananatha dasa

[The following is a response to the article "ITV Responds to Prananatha" by Nrsimhananda dasa, quoted in italics.—Ed.]

"Prananatha is mistaken in his understanding of the financial history of ITV. The BBT never gave ITV any laksmi. They only guaranteed loans, which ITV paid. There was a subscription service to temples to purchase tapes. That subscription service had nothing to do with the BBT. In fact, that system was abandoned due to many temples/zones not complying with it. In 1985, ITV was thoroughly self-sufficient and selling tapes on an individual basis. The majority of the programs released have been produced since that time."

Thank you for clarifying that. I have been under the impression all these years that the Temples paid laxmi directly to ITV for the costs of setting up ITV.

"Unfortunately, Prananatha does not see the costs of production and maintenance as well as distribution as expenses that must be recouped by sales. He suggests that ITV sell its products at the same price as the pirates. But the pirates don't have to incur any production costs. Nor do they have to maintain any equipment or upgrade any technology. They just copy for a profit over their basic expenses of duplication. That was certainly not Srila Prabhupada's instruction to Yadubara Prabhu who first took up the task of recording His Divine Grace on film. He instructed Yadubara to sell his films for many, yes many, times the cost of duplication."

Firstly, I am very much aware of the expenses involved in producing videos, as I have personally spent 10s of thousands of dollars, from my own earnings, to produce videos, not only for the devotees here in New Zealand, but in a humble way for HH Indradyumna Maharaja to support his preaching in Poland. I have also given my footage to ITV, ISKCON Communications & the ISKCON Interactive DVD. I teach video production in a local college. I know what's involved.

My suggestion to compete with the bootleggers was not based on disobeying the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. It seems that bootlegging has been ongoing in ISKCON for many years, and most likely it will continue long into the future. If stopping bootlegging were as easy as passing a resolution or quoting Srila Prabhupada it would most likely have never started in the first place. Just see the endless trouble the karmis go to, to try and stop it. Whenever the marketing giants come up with a way to prevent duplication, someone finds a way around it, so it's a never ending game of cat & mouse costing the industry billions of dollars. But for every crook who duplicates, there are 8 or 9 who go to the shop and buy the genuine article.

"So, Prananatha Prabhu, you are suggesting that we disobey the orders of Srila Prabhupada so you can have cheap copies."

No. I paid the full price for ITV videos and apart from a quality issue on a number of the tapes (which were replaced free of charge) I am VERY happy with what ITV have produced. Nor do I envy what you are having to deal with in order to keep ITV afloat. But do you think that you will ever eradicate bootlegging? If GBC men, gurus & others are buying them?

"The design of Srila Prabhupada was that there be income to fund more productions. Your plan denies such facility. It flies in the face of Srila Prabhupada's instructions. It also is illegal because it promotes abrogating copyright laws, which have been acknowledged by the IBBT. And it is against the GBC resolutions. I think you should examine your own motives. If you want the laws to change, then lobby to change them. But if you are to cooperate with the society, you shouldn't promote illegal and immoral actions by yourself and others."

I had some ideas, but it seems the issue is both deep rooted & complex. I offered my suggestions in good faith but I see now that they are unacceptable. I think it better that I don't involve myself further as there are conflicting opinions which are beyond my jurisdiction. Nrsimhananda Prabhu, you are a very sincere devotee & are certainly a recipient of Srila Prabhupada's mercy for your preaching endeavours. I sincerely wish you all success and humbly offer my services if I can assist you in any way.

Your servant Prananatha das

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