Officials take steps to stop illegal downloading

Hollywood studios are taking their fight against piracy in China into the belly of the beast by erecting a huge billboard with an antipiracy message from Jackie Chan in Beijing’s Silk Market.

Billboard features a simple warning from the Hong Kong star: “Protect the movies, say NO to piracy.”

Billboard was launched in partnership with the Beijing Silk Street Co. and Chaoyang Model Anti-Copyright Infringement and Piracy-Free Zone.

It will be displayed for two weeks in one of the busiest spots in Chaoyang district, spreading its message to more than 20 million people.

“Chan’s message to Beijing’s citizens is direct and simple,” said Mike Ellis, MPA’s regional prexy and managing director. By eschewing pirated fare, Chinese will take steps toward “nurturing and protecting China’s movie industry, which then will be free to reach out and tell compelling, exciting Chinese stories to people around the world.”

Putting the billboard in Silk Market is an ironic touch for the MPA, as the shopping area was once the place to go for counterfeit goods, including pirated DVDs, despite its location right next to the U.S. embassy.

These days, following some high-profile legal actions and so much international attention on combating piracy, the Silk Market is trying to go legit. It recently launched its own brand of goods and warned pirates not to copy them or risk the consequences.

The MPA has been busy in China, announcing the winners in a copyright protection-themed student film contest and last week inking a deal with the seven most popular Chinese websites — where millions of films and TV programs are being uploaded, watched or downloaded every day — regarding copyright protection of U.S. films.

The websites have promised to remove any programs illegally uploaded by users once notified by MPA and its member companies.

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