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Mexico biz fighting piracy

Education campaign planned across all media

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s leading film industry players are launching the country’s biggest antipiracy program this month, with a 70 million peso ($6.25 million) budget.

The push is being organized by the National Chamber of the Cinematographic Industry (Canacine) backed by the top two exhibitors, all the major distributors, film labs, the Motion Picture Assn. and Blockbuster Video.

The education campaign will place antipiracy messages in cinemas, video rental stores and on television and radio. Ads are aimed at middle- and upper-class families. A typical message is: “Pirated movies look bad, but you look even worse as a father. What are you teaching your children?”

“In Mexico it’s not only very poor people buying pirate movies. Doctors, lawyers and businessmen are buying, too,” said Miguel Angel Davila, prexy of Canacine and general director of Cinemex, Mexico’s second-largest exhib. He estimates at least 20 million pirate copies of movies are sold in Mexico each year, representing, in monetary terms, as much as 30% of the entire market here.

The campaign is not the first in Mexico, where a host of groups have sprung up in recent years to combat the piracy.

Canacine says it will push Mexican legislators to improve enforcement, and distributors to move up release dates from the four- to six-month window to three months.

“It’s impossible to compete directly with pirates,” said Philip Alexander, director of Buena Vista TriStar Columbia Films in Mexico. “We need to educate the public.”

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