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Piracy of Hong Kong made films on YouTube amounts to loss of over $308 million

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MUMBAI: A good deal of copyright infringement of Hong Kong-made films from YouTube has been unearthed with pirated footage of over 200 Hong Kong films found on the world’s largest video-sharing website.

The act amounts to an estimated loss of over $308 million to the local film industry, according to the Hong Kong Motion Pictures Industry Association (MPIA). The members of the Association have urged YouTube and other video-sharing websites to enforce the German Court ruling last Friday to implement measures to restrict content that infringe copyright.

The recent local box office hit Love in the Buff was found to be the most uploaded film that directly affected the theatrical gross of the film. The videos were taken off after a formal complaint made to YouTube by Media Asia, the copyright holder of Love in the Buff.

But YouTube did not act promptly when contacted by Media Asia to remove the illegally obtained film, taking days for the removal. "YouTube repeatedly requested the copyright holder to prove that they are the holder in order to remove the pirated videos of Love in the Buff, while they allow anyone to claim to be the copyright holder when uploading the videos. It’s very unreasonable," MPIA CEO Brian Chung has been reported to have said. "The pirated videos on YouTube greatly hurt the theatrical performance of the film," he added.

In view of the pirated video of Buff on YouTube, MPIA members have searched and found in three days over 200 films illegally uploaded on to YouTube, including films from both the past and recent Hong Kong Film Award winners like A Simple Life, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Echoes of the Rainbow, and Shaolin Soccer.

With accumulated views of over 40 million, MPIA estimated a loss of over HK$2.4 billion to the Hong Kong film industry based on an average cinema ticket price of HK$60.

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