Eid El-Adha Egyptian films already pirated, producers outraged

Sayed Mahmoud, Friday 4 Nov 2011

Pirating has been causing millions in losses for Egyptian producers, as highlighted when this week's all-important Eid season was eclipsed by piraters

Cima Ali Baba film poster
The pirated "Cima Ali Baba" film was in theatres since wednesday 2 November. (Photo : Al Arabia Cinema)

Only hours after revealing the Eid El Adha films, Kaf El Kamar (The Palm of the Moon) and Cima Ali Baba (The Cinema of Ali Baba), piracy websites made the films available for download.

Producers are outraged, especially after failing to fight pirating through legal channels.

Tamer Abdel Aziz, who works for the Federation of Egyptian Industries, reveals that the revenues of six pirating websites amount to LE35 million ($6mn) per year.

“An Egyptian film costs 20 million [Egyptian] pounds to produce and loses five million,” he broke it down.

He adds that the pirating not only affects the numbers that go watch the film in the cinema, but distribution in Egypt and abroad, as well.

Several suggestions have been put forth by producers like Mohamed Hassan Ramzy to end pirating. One suggestion was to put cameras in cinemas, as many of the films are simply recorded with basic cameras from the audience in the cinema.

“We are getting robbed in broad daylight,” bemoaned producer and actress Isaad Younis. “Pirating is considered a violation of rights,” and added that Egyptian authorities do not understand the gravity of the crime of pirating.

The media spokesperson for Al Arabiya Cinema production house, Abdel Geleil Hassan, said that there should be committees that hack these websites the minute they post the pirated films.

Last year’s Cairo International Film Festival held a panel discussion on piracy. Moderated by Younis, it bore no fruitful suggestions on how to tackle the problem.

Pirating has become a disaster for Egyptian cinema and has caused a crisis for film producers.

A study by the American Cinema Guild a few years ago revealed that one in four people download films illegally, with South Korea boasting the highest rates of piracy.

American production companies lose $6.1 billion per year due to pirating and Arab companies are not far off, percentage-wise, as pirating amounts to 60 per cent in cinema and 33 per cent in music.

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