Over 50 000 DVDs and CDs were seized in raids across KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: SUPPLIED

Durban - Piracy continues to dominate the local film market causing the industry to lose out on millions of sales and profit. 

According to the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT), South Africa ranked 14th in the world for illegal downloads in 2014, costing the film industry between R300 and R600 million. 

However, these figures are expected to rise by 2019. 

In a bid to combat piracy, R5-million worth of illegally copied DVDs and CDs, seized during raids conducted throughout KwaZulu-Natal, were destroyed to prevent them from being put back on the market. 

The efforts of the Film and Publication Board (FPB) together with the SAPS Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation Unit and SAFACT saw over 50 000 DVDs and CDs seized. 

Of this, 5 000 were Bollywood movies. 

Raids were conducted in Durban central, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown, Port Shepstone, Isipingo and Montclair. 

The Bollywood discs were confiscated in the Durban CBD and Pietermaritzburg.

FPB's Acting Chief Operations Officer, Abongile Mashele, said a large percentage of the confiscated material from the Durban CBD were Hollywood and local content. 

A  small amount was Nollywood (Nigerian), Bollywood and pornography.

She said the impact of illegal distribution was a scourge that negatively impacted on the industry and economy. 

"Piracy pedlars steal intellectual property. They steal revenue due to destitute families by depriving them of royalties. People lose their jobs as more DVD shops close due to poor business," said Mashele.
  
She added that from April to November, their KZN office was dealing with 33 cases of illegal distribution. 

Those caught in possession were charged with contravening the film and publications act and could be imprisonment for six months or fined depending on the quantity of pirated copies.  

If caught with pornography, the a maximum sentence of five years could be imposed. 

Award-winning director, producer and scriptwriter of the Broken Promises franchise, Kumaran Naidu, said: "We are not receiving the money gained from selling these DVDs and this affects our future work. 

"Added to this, actors lose out due to lack of income generated. Those who buy pirate movies for their enjoyment do not realise the impact on the industry." 

Filmmaker Jayan Moodley, whose movie, Keeping up with Kandasamys, was a box-office hit, said piracy was a violation of their work and the industry at large. 

"If piracy continues to grow, in years to come there will be no industry to support. People may not be aware that this is theft and sadly, it has become an acceptable practice. As long as there is a demand, the supply will continue."

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