Video piracy heat up in Asia-Pacific

Number of burned DVD-Rs confiscated rises by 443%

SYDNEY — There were dramatic hikes in seizures of pirated optical discs and burners in raids and investigations into video piracy in the Asia-Pacific region last year, according to a report by the Motion Picture Assn.

The number of burned DVD-Rs confiscated rose by 443%, including 25 million produced in factories, compared with 12.5 million in 2003.

Law enforcement agencies initiated more than 25,500 investigations, up 65%, resulting in nearly 12,000 raids and more than 8,000 criminal legal actions.

The top three markets for seizures of pirate VCDs and DVDs were mainland China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, while Australia and South Korea accounted for 75% of the region’s total DVD-R seizures.

In Taiwan, 1,775 optical disc burners were seized, about 56% of the regional total of 3,156.

Mainland China accounted for 37 million VCDs and DVDs seized in operations in which the MPA was involved, but the org estimates the total number of pirate and pornographic optical discs seized in China at more than 224 million.

To that end, the MPA began rolling out an antipiracy theatrical trailer across the region last year as part of a 40-country awareness campaign. A Japanese version will be launched in March.

The MPA estimates its member companies lose more than $896 million in potential revenue annually to piracy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report says the increased popularity of DVDs among movie pirates reflects a widespread shift to the technology by Asian consumers.