Pic piracy fears mount

Core consumer group downloading most

BERLIN — Nearly 60 million films were burned onto CDs in Germany last year, according to a survey published Tuesday by the German Federal Film Board (FFA), adding to already mounting fears about piracy.

The org warned the cinema and home entertainment industry is facing a threat of alarming proportions. Some 15.5 million films were downloaded onto hard disks from Internet sites, the report said.

Of the 10,000 people surveyed, 53% download films after their theatrical release but before they are available on video or DVD; 23% download pics before their theatrical debut in Germany; 22% after their release on video/DVD; and 2.3% acquire movies even before they open theatrically in the U.S.

The FFA said downloading and burning of films has altered the behavior of theatergoers and video and DVD buyers.

The majority of those who download or copy films are between the ages of 10 and 29, the core moviegoing age group. As a result, exhibitors and home entertainment distributors are losing their exclusivity and a large portion of their clientele, the report added. “Free illegal offers are being exploited while legal offers are being rejected,” it said.

At an antipiracy summit Friday in Munich, reps of the film, home entertainment, music and game industries said they would work together to intensify the battle against digital piracy.

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