x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Illegal downloading is new underground DVD dealer

Piracy causes losses of 'many millions' to the film distribution industry every year, according to the general manager of the UAE branch of Italia Film.

A scene from Real Steel. Piracy causes losses of millions to the film distribution industry every year. Courtesy of Film Frame
A scene from Real Steel. Piracy causes losses of millions to the film distribution industry every year. Courtesy of Film Frame

Piracy causes losses of "many millions" to the film distribution industry every year, according to John Chahine, the general manager of the UAE branch of the distributor Italia Film, which handles about 45 to 50 films here each year.

He said that even though the country was at the forefront of fighting piracy in the Middle East, there was still a long way to go. "Piracy in the Middle East is completely open," he said. "The authorities have made attempts to narrow it down, but it's not easy."

Even underground Chinese DVD dealers, often seen selling pirated films door-to-door, will soon go out of business, he believed. "Now we have a new type of piracy, with the internet being fast enough for people to download entire movies on to their computers."

Italia Films, which also distributes Arabic-subtitled DVDs, recently released the blockbuster movie Killer Elite, starring Robert De Niro, and the Disney film Real Steel, to which the actor Hugh Jackman lent his Australian accent.

"Of course pirated copies save people a lot of money, but the positive thing is that people like to go out to the cinema; it's part of the social culture here."