Thu, Mar 28, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Action demanded against movie piracy

By Chang Yu-jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of Taiwan's cinema associations (known as "exhibitors associations") yesterday joined with film distributors in Taiwan to call on the government to take robust action against the nation's thriving film piracy industry and to publicize a demonstration to be held in early April.

They did so at a press conference jointly organized by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, United Pictures International, Mata Entertainment, Warner Bros, Taipei Exhibitors Association (台北市戲院工會), Kaohsiung Exhibitors Association (高雄市戲院工會), and Taiwan Exhibitors Association (台灣省戲院工會). The associations are groups of cinemas and cinema chains

In a written statement, the organizers said, "This is the first time the distributors and exhibitors associations have come together to hold this kind of press conference," adding that the move had been forced on them by the continuing rapid growth of film piracy.

"Today, the movie piracy rate (an estimated figure based on declines in audience figures) in Taiwan has surpassed 50 percent, up from 30 percent three years ago," said Liao Jr-de (廖治德), the president of the Kaohsiung Exhibitors Association.

The distributors and cinemas called on the government to make film piracy an indictable offence, making prosecution mandatory. Currently prosecution for the offence may only be instituted on the filing of a complaint and within 24 hours thereof.

They also called for the establishment of a film piracy police force, for the enforcement of existing regulations against the pirating of VCDs and for children to be fully educated about intellectual property violations.

According to statistics provided by the president of the Motion Picture Association of Taipei, Yang I-ping (楊翌平), Taiwan has the seventh highest piracy rate in Asia, surpassing Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore.

"Taiwan's film industry has lost NT$1.3 billion over the past year because of piracy. Over 68 percent of cases were committed by people under the age of 18." Yang said.

Liao warned that the piracy of intellectual property had damaged the entertainment industry in Taiwan, reflected educational shortcomings, reduced government tax revenues, and led to Taiwan being labelled a "piracy kingdom."

"During the past few years, when marketing our films, we have felt as though we were actually doing free promotions for the pirating business," said Huang Shih-wen (黃世文), Marketing CEO of United Pictures International.

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