Monday, 15 September 2008

Piracy of movie discs killing Cambodian cinema says official

M&C Asia-Pacific News
Sep 15, 2008

Phnom Penh - Cambodian cinematographers are turning more and more towards making shorter, less expensive karaoke videos because of rising production costs and poorly enforced laws against movie piracy, an official said Monday.

Cambodia joined the World Trade Organization in 2003 and because of its Least Developed Country status has been given until 2013 to comply with the body's strict intellectual property regulations and eliminate bootlegging.

However Cambodia's DVD and CD industry is currently almost entirely built on pirating, and despite raids commencing last week aiming at stamping out sales of copied Cambodian and Thai products, even officials admit the problem will take years to tackle.

'We get far more requests for permission to make karaoke videos than movies now,' director of the Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Department responsible for giving official permission to original local productions, Kong Kantara, said in an interview.

'Requests for permits for both movies and karaoke clips are very much down in recent years, but cinema is losing badly to karaoke.'

He said so far this year the department had only had a handful of requests for movie production permits, all from foreigners and mostly for documentaries and karaoke permits were much more common, although he could not immediately give exact figures.

Cambodian movie directors and producers have said pirating is so rampant that they stand little or no chance of recouping the production costs for a full-length feature before cheap bootlegs hit the markets and wipe out all chance of profits.

Karaoke videos are cheaper and have a faster turnaround time, making them a better bet for investors, according to industry observers.

No comments: