MPA launches Operation Takedown to fight piracy

Mumbai: The Motion Picture Association (MPA) launched Operation Takedown, an aggressive enforcement and outreach initiative scheduled to run through until 31 July in 13 countries and territories across the Asia-Pacific region. This year’s summer blitz – a biannual initiative – is being launched to coincide with the summer release schedule of MPA’s member companies.

A prime focus of Operation Takedown will be taking out the source of piracy – a concerted crackdown on illegal camcording of newly released titles in cinemas. In addition, efforts to prevent such copies from being distributed online will be stepped up.

The rapid increase of camcording incidents is of growing concern in countries around the region. Over 90% of pirated movies originate from unauthorized recordings from cinemas. These recordings typically occur in the first few days of the release, and distributed in digital form worldwide on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and via other online outlets. In 2007, there were 33 such recordings, a 65% increase as compared to 2006 when there were 20.

Pirate replication facilities also use these recordings to create pirated optical discs, which are then distributed to criminal syndicates around the world. Operation Takedown’s secondary target will be the production – especially factories and burner operations – as well as distribution and sales of pirated movies at retail hot spots throughout the region.

"Taking out the camcorders takes down a major chunk of piracy. These recordings are particularly damaging because they occur at the very start of the movie distribution cycle, affecting downstream markets," said Motion Picture Association president and managing director Mike Ellis.

"Our numbers show that the Make a Difference, anti-camcording campaign is really making a difference as more theater staff is trained to detect and take out camcorders. We intend to cover a lot more in this area to make sure that movies are protected and not stolen from this region. At the same time we are pushing for legislation to make camcording illegal, so that everyone will come to recognize the severity of this crime and do their part in preventing such offences from occurring in the knowledge that iron-clad law is on their side too."

Ellis added, "In partnership with the authorities in our region, we will continue to remain persistent in tracking down these pirates and ensuring that they face the full extent of the law."

The MPA has created a website dedicated to its Make a Difference campaign (http://www.make-a-difference.sg) in which it worked with theater exhibitors to implement anti-camcording security measures to protect movies during screenings, and to train employees. Theaters each receive a copy of the MPA’s Make a Difference package, which provides anti-camcording guidelines and a DVD on how to prevent camcording of movies in cinemas. To date, over 5,645 packages have been distributed across the region.

Operation Takedown will be conducted in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

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