Asia-wide anti-piracy ops net 6.7 m discs, 915 arrests

New Delhi, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:57am hrs
About 6.7 million pirated CDs and DVDs have been seized and 915 arrests made in the past 30 days in an Asia-wide anti-piracy campaign by US based Motion Picture Association (MPA). In India, 163 raids were made against China (405 raids), Hong Kong (119), Malaysia (455), Indonesia(305) and Thailand (573 raids).

The raids resulted in record seizures of 6,750,350 pirated optical discs and 1,483 optical disc burners, as well as the 915 arrests.

The anti-piracy enforcement campaign - Operation Red Card--was launched in early May and concluded in mid-July across 12 countries in Asia-Pacific totaling about 1,919 raids. Operation Red Card focused on notorious piracy "black spots" in major cities in Australia , China , Hong Kong , India , Indonesia , Japan , Malaysia , New Zealand , the Philippines , Singapore , South Korea , Taiwan and Thailand. The main targets were piracy hot spots and aimed at protecting sales of cinema movie tickets and legitimate home video products such as DVDs and VCDs by reducing the availability of pirated optical discs.

The MPA raids were concerned only with piracy of Hollywood movies which accounts for only 20% of the piracy in India. The remaining 80% infringes the copyrights of domestic films which accounts for losses upto Rs 1,700 crore annually.

MPA includes the world's largest studios - Paramount Pictures; Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, B uena Vista Int'l and Warner Bros. "Over the past two years, the MPA's four biannual anti-piracy sweeps have collectively resulted in more than 2,500 arrests and more than 23 million pirated optical discs seized," said Mike Ellis, Senior Vice President and Regional Director, Asia-Pacific for the Motion Picture Association.

A recent study concluded that MPA studios lost $6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005. About $2.4 billion was lost to bootlegging - obtaining movies by either purchasing an illegally copied HS/DVD/VCD or acquiring hard copies of bootleg movies. Unauthorised copying resulted in a loss of $1.4 billion while internet piracy claimed another $2.3 billion in losses.

Of the $6.1 billion in lost revenue to the studios, approximate $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region, while piracy in the U.S. accounted for $1.3 billion.

In 2005, the MPA's operations in the Asia-Pacific region investigated more than 34,000 cases of piracy and assisted law enforcement officials in conducting more than 10,500 raids.

These activities resulted in the seizure of more than 34 million illegal optical discs, 55 factory optical disc production lines and 3,362 optical disc burners, as well as the initiation of more than 8,000 legal actions.