DVD and CD pirates watch out

Filmmaker and comedian Leon Schuster poses with fake DVDs of one of his films on Thursday, 19 February 2009. Pirated DVDs worth R25 million were destroyed at a venue in Midrand. Schuster, a long time anti-piracy advocate, attended the destruction of the goods confiscated by the SA Revenue Service' special investigations unit.These DVDs feature film made locally and internationally and are being sold on city streets costing South Africa's film industry millions
of rands a year. Pic: Werner Beukes.  © SAPA
Filmmaker and comedian Leon Schuster poses with fake DVDs of one of his films on Thursday, 19 February 2009. Pirated DVDs worth R25 million were destroyed at a venue in Midrand. Schuster, a long time anti-piracy advocate, attended the destruction of the goods confiscated by the SA Revenue Service' special investigations unit.These DVDs feature film made locally and internationally and are being sold on city streets costing South Africa's film industry millions of rands a year. Pic: Werner Beukes. © SAPA

YOU are standing on the corner of Bree and Sauer streets in Joburg and, as usual, there is a hive of activity with commuters rushing to catch taxis at the Bree Street taxi rank.

YOU are standing on the corner of Bree and Sauer streets in Joburg and, as usual, there is a hive of activity with commuters rushing to catch taxis at the Bree Street taxi rank.

Amid this mad rush hawkers are doing serious business selling everything from vegetables to CDs and DVDs.

The prices are very affordable until you notice that the CDs and DVDs are fake .

Piracy costs the government, through tax, billions of rands every year and, sadly, our artists a lot of money. Police confiscate the CDs and arrest the sellers, but the big guys who sponsor the manufacture of the products are never caught.

Piracy is killing our film and music industry. Our artists are unemployed because pirates steal their products.

So what is the way forward?

A new empowerment venture aimed at combating film and music piracy in order to boost local production was launched in Johannesburg last week.

From successful Brazilian and Russian business models, stakeholders have learnt that there are three essential elements required to successfully fight piracy: enforcement, education and providing legitimate and genuine products at affordable prices.

Bliksem DVDs, working closely with enforcement agencies, will provide education and genuine products at the right price. With their partners Avusa Media and Nu Metro Home Entertainment, Bliksem seeks to establish a nationwide network of vendors on streets where the pirates are currently operating. The vendors will sell legitimate products at affordable prices and continuously educate people about the detriment of buying pirated merchandise.

The venture will create self-employment by establishing sustainable and profitable franchises. It is in line with government policy to introduce a positive culture of non-criminality and legitimate, regulated trading. With five unemployed Soweto youth, Bliksem DVDs opened a depot at Trading Spaces on the corner of Plein and Hoek streets in Joburg over the weekend.

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