Fighting fake DVDs – with fakes

19 May 2006

South Africa’s Anti Piracy Foundation has come up with a inventive new weapon in the fight against pirated DVDs – fake pirated DVDs.

According to the Financial Mail, the new campaign involves joining pirate vendors at street corners to sell fake discs, but with a twist. Only when the buyers of the fakes play the DVDs will they realise they’ve been fooled.

After a few moments of the genuine movie, a message appears on the screen: “Thank you for buying this DVD. Your R40 has been donated to the Anti Piracy Foundation. Piracy is a crime.”

Advertising agency TBWA Hunt Lascaris, which developed the campaign, says that while the bold strategy is risky, it’s necessary to combat the problem of copyright theft.

“This issue demands some edginess in the advertising to make a strong point,” TBWA group CEO Mike Bosman told the Financial Mail.

Across the world, DVD piracy costs the film industry some R50-billion a year. In South Africa, pirated movie sales account for 60% of the country’s DVD market, costing the industry an annual R500-million.

To combat the problem, the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact) – a member of the Anti Piracy Foundation – has been set up to educate consumers about piracy, conduct raids and inspections, and help prosecute offenders. Safact represents film distributors Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro, international film studios and others, including Sony Playstation.

Safact’s film and print adverts draw the connection between piracy and theft, with a pay-off line that describes the ordinary citizen who buys pirated goods as a “South African crime supporter”. The new campaign takes the message further, with a real financial consequence people who support piracy.

“For the campaign to really drive home, people had to be shocked into changing their behaviour and stop buying fake products,” TBWA creative director Damon Stapleton told the Financial Mail.

Another objective is to disrupt the pirate market. “By flooding the market with our copies, we should make people hesitant to buy pirated discs as they might get one of ours.”

Already, students dressed as street vendors have taken to the streets of Johannesburg to sell fake pirated copies of South Africa’s Oscar-winning movie Tsotsi. The film’s huge popularity has meant it’s currently the most pirated in the country, selling for as little as R50.

But while people who buy the fakes have no legal recourse, they won’t lose out completely. According to the Financial Mail, they can exchange the fake DVD at a Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor cinema for a ticket to see the real thing.

SAinfo reporter

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