Chinese film industry suffers from piracy, study finds

Piracy cost filmmakers in China US$2.7 billion in 2005, according to a new survey by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

Sixty-one percent of film producers, exhibitors and distributors surveyed in China believe that piracy will increase, according to a new study announced by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) Monday. No one surveyed believed piracy in China would decrease, while 39 percent believed that it would hold steady, the MPA said.

The country has long been the target of anti-piracy efforts by U.S. movie studios, but the MPA's survey shows that China's domestic film industry also suffers significant losses from unauthorized copying and illegal downloading. The survey was begun in 2005 and completed earlier this year, an MPA representative said.

No one surveyed believed piracy in China would decrease. In fact, 61 percent of respondents indicated they believed piracy would continue to increase, while 39 percent believed that it would hold steady, the survey said.

Those surveyed indicated they believed that legitimate distributors of film and video products in China also sold pirated goods. Because there is no tax or royalty paid on illegally copied material, pirated goods can be offered at a lower price with a higher profit margin.

The survey also noted that based on 2003 statistics, legitimate optical disc production facilities in China are operating at only 17.7 percent of capacity, based on registered production lines and their reported output.

The survey was done on behalf of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Center for American Economic Studies under the Institute of World Economics & Politics.

The MPA is the international arm of the Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the American film, video and television industries on issues including opposing piracy and advocating strong copyright protection.

Piracy cost filmmakers in China US$2.7 billion in 2005, according to a separate survey released in May by LEK Consulting and conducted on behalf of the U.S. parent organization of the MPA, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The MPAA represents the American film, video and television industries on issues including opposing piracy and advocating strong copyright protection.

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Steven Schwankert

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