High piracy rates hurt SA cinemas

2010-06-08 00:00

POORLY attended Bollywood film screenings have been blamed on the high rates of piracy in the industry.

The CEO of the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact), James Lennox, said he estimates that 45% of DVDs in South Africa are pirated.

The figure may well be higher for Bollywood films.

“We can bandy around figures, but truthfully it is difficult to quantify. It is safe to say at least 45% are pirated, and the market is saturated with counterfeit goods,” he said.

Often, Bollywood films are available on illegal DVDs well before their cinema release date.

In an attempt to buck the trend, movie houses have started releasing certain films on the same day internationally. An example of this was the international release of the political drama Raajneeti on June 4.

AB Moosa, CEO of the Avalon Group (owners of CineCentre), confirmed the strategy is aimed at combating piracy. “Globally, there is continuous effort to try and release films around the world at the same, or similar, time as one of the ways to try and curb piracy,” he said. However, release dates are largely affected by other factors such as school holidays, which differ globally.

Lennox said Pietermaritzburg police are “very responsive” when it comes to copyright violation. He encouraged organisations and individuals to report copyright theft to the police or to organisations like Safact, which can be visited at www.safact.co.za.

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