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China: DVD Piracy Not an Olympic Sport

15 Jul, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

With less than four weeks remaining until the opening of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, China is apparently clamping down on the availability of pirated DVD movies throughout the capital city.

Officials say they will institute 24-hour patrols over a 100-day period looking for street vendors, businesses and storefronts hawking bootlegged theatrical releases of such blockbusters as Iron Man and Kung Fu Panda, among others, according to a report in China Press and Publishing Journal.

“Strike hard against all kinds of pirate copies violating rights and against illegal publishing activities,” the report said. “Go all out to create a healthy cultural market environment for the Beijing Olympic Games.”

The Beijing Games run from Aug. 8-27.

Filmed illegally in theaters with a hidden video camera and then burned to a disc, the pirated DVDs sell for as little as $1.50.

China ranks among the worst offenders in protecting intellectual copyrights such a DVD movies, books and music. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) says that U.S. studios lose about $1.2 billion annually to pirated DVDs in the Asia/Pacific region.

Reports say nearly 90% of all packaged media sold in China is pirated.

Last year, that region's MPAA office investigated more than 32,000 cases of piracy and conducted more than 13,000 in cooperation with local officials. The raids netted more than 31 million illegal DVDs, 40 factory disc replication lines and 6,400 DVD disc burners.

An MPAA representative was not immediately available for comment.

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