Tube pirates vex film biz

China riled by piracy

HONG KONG — In a sign that China’s film industry may be waking up to the impact of widespread movie piracy, an industry body has accused the country’s TV nets of broadcasting unlicensed content.

According to a report by state news agency Xinhua, the Chinese Movie Copyright Assn. says Chinese TV channels screen 1,500 pirated Chinese films per year. That costs the local studios some RMB75 million ($9.4 million).

“The number of movies illegally aired is startling, and most of them are very recent,” the association’s legal director, Meng Yu, was quoted as saying.

While piracy has stunted the development of a legal home entertainment market for foreign movies, the association’s alarm call adds weight to recent studies conducted by Hollywood’s Motion Picture Assn. suggesting that piracy inflicts even greater damage on China’s own industry.

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