Hollywood vs. China

Chandi Dharmaratne

BEIJING, Sept 13, 2006 (AFP) – Six Hollywood studios said Wednesday they had filed suit against Chinese firms for allegedly selling illegal copies of their movies, in a case aimed at curbing the rampant piracy of Western films here.

More than 90 percent of films sold in China on DVD are estimated to be pirate copies, the Motion Picture Association (MPA), an industry lobbying group, said in a statement announcing the suit.

Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures teamed up to file two suits over 33 films, including smash hits such as “Mr and Mrs Smith” and “The Incredibles.”

“These civil actions seek damages for the willful copyright infringement of several of the plaintiffs works,” said Frank Rittman, legal counsel for the MPA, adding that the complaint focused on evidence from this year and last.

“The mountain we are climbing is high, and the pirates are busy building the mountain higher every day,” Rittman said.

“We need every tool — strong laws to support copyright, strong enforcement of those laws, stiff sentences for people who violate those laws and most important, an understanding by ordinary people … that buying pirated movies h