MPA addresses piracy at CineAsia convention

MACAU — Illegal camcording in Asian cinemas is on the rise, even while exhibitors in individual countries take steps to battle the problem, according to the Motion Picture Assn. in Asia-Pacific.

At the three-day CineAsia theatrical exhibition and distribution convention in Macau, the organization revealed that 96 illegal camcorder recordings were matched to Asia-Pacific theaters in 2008, up 336% from 2007 when 25 incidents were recorded.

“Our region has close to 40% of the world’s movie screens, and it produced half of the nearly 5,000 films created last year,” said Mike Ellis, president and managing director of the MPA in Asia Pacific. “With the rise of day-and-date releases and world premieres in Asia-Pacific, unauthorized recordings in the region have risen exponentially.”

Ellis singled out Thailand and the Philippines as countries where movie piracy is increasing. He added that more resources have been allocated to assist exhibitors in those countries, pointing to the organization’s recent rollout of its Operation ZoomOut, an exhibitor training and law enforcement assistance program.

The MPA maintains that these outreach programs have helped reduce piracy in other countries. In 2006, 30 illegally camcorded movies were traced back to Malaysian cinemas, a level that dropped to one in 2007 after a concerted anti-piracy campaign which saw 30 arrests.

CineAsia ends Thursday.

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