Bootleg copies of the Passion hit Middle East

By staff writers
March 25, 2004

-25/3/04

Pirated DVDs of Mel Gibson's ìThe Passion of The Christî have hit the streets of the Middle East and are selling like hot cakes, according to street vendors.

The film, which is released in the UK this week, and has faced charges of anti-Semitism, is already being sold outside of supermarkets, and out of the trunk of cars for the price of SR 30 or less. A copy obtained by Arab News was reportedly of high quality.

A street vendor said on condition of anonymity vendors underestimated demand for the movie because the dialogue is in Latin and ancient Aramaic rather than English. ìMy customers donít like subtitled movies, but they are buying this one.î

ìA majority of these DVDs come from the Far East by way of GCC states,î he said. ìPirated CDs and DVDs of latest movies are often available in Jeddah weeks before the films are even released in the United States.î

Mel Gibsonís movie company, Icon, is suing a Hollywood post-production company claiming bad security allowed three employees to copy the film.

The bootlegs eventually turned up online and on the black market.

According to the 2003 International Intellectual Property Alliance report, ìSaudi Arabia should remain on the watch list. The piracy situation in Saudi Arabia continued to improve for most sectors i n2002 ,with cooperation from the Ministry of Information and sustained raiding that has eaten into piracy rates for the motion picture and business software industries.î

-25/3/04

Pirated DVDs of Mel Gibson's ìThe Passion of The Christî have hit the streets of the Middle East and are selling like hot cakes, according to street vendors.

The film, which is released in the UK this week, and has faced charges of anti-Semitism, is already being sold outside of supermarkets, and out of the trunk of cars for the price of SR 30 or less. A copy obtained by Arab News was reportedly of high quality.

A street vendor said on condition of anonymity vendors underestimated demand for the movie because the dialogue is in Latin and ancient Aramaic rather than English. ìMy customers donít like subtitled movies, but they are buying this one.î

ìA majority of these DVDs come from the Far East by way of GCC states,î he said. ìPirated CDs and DVDs of latest movies are often available in Jeddah weeks before the films are even released in the United States.î

Mel Gibsonís movie company, Icon, is suing a Hollywood post-production company claiming bad security allowed three employees to copy the film.

The bootlegs eventually turned up online and on the black market.

According to the 2003 International Intellectual Property Alliance report, ìSaudi Arabia should remain on the watch list. The piracy situation in Saudi Arabia continued to improve for most sectors i n2002 ,with cooperation from the Ministry of Information and sustained raiding that has eaten into piracy rates for the motion picture and business software industries.î

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