Submitted by: S.K. Sloan
Bootlegged CD’s of “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” were being made available for unauthorized sale on Bejiing’s streets just days after the film premiered in China.
After “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” opened across China on Thursday high quality pirated disks were selling by Sunday.
The Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) estimates that about 95 percent of all DVD’s sold in China are pirated. According to the MPAA this cost the U.S. film industry $280 million U.S. dollars last year.
While “Star Wars III” may be setting new box office records world-wide, pirating of the movie is also costing its owner George Lucas and the studio millions of dollars in lost ticket sales and future DVD purchases. In China a person could buy a high quality illegal copy for about 7 yuan (85 cents US) while a ticket to the film in a theater would cost that same customer around 70 yuan. To the Chinese patron they appear to see it more like saving 10 percent than hurting a franchise that is already making multi-millions. While this is saving the purchaser some money it is very illegal and if caught, will cost that person much more grief than a 10 percent increase in their pocketbook.
This piracy is not just rampant in China. On Friday, the day after the film’s release in Malaysia, the Malaysian police confiscated a cache of illegal copies of the film that were ready to hit the streets that same night.