The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been the tip of the spear when it comes to fighting film piracy all over the world, and now it has its sights set on Australia. A new report from the MPAA has Australia, particularly one market in Melbourne, as a "notorious" piracy hotspot, and one of the worst markets in the world for pirate DVD distribution. Welcome to Victoria's Caribbean Gardens and Markets.
Set in Scoresby, Victoria, this 10,000 square metre covered market operates twice a week, and according to the MPAA, it's a global piracy hotspot.
In a report to the Office of the US Trade Representative regarding prevalent distribution markets for copyright-protected material, Australia was number two on the list.
According to the MPAA, the amount of illegally pirated material available has dramatically reduced over the last decade, but now has resurged thanks to an apathetic law enforcement response to the situation.
Here's the excerpt (emphasis added):
Caribbean Gardens & Markets
Scoresby, Victoria, Australia. Caribbean Gardens and Markets is Australia’s largest undercover market at over 10,000 sqm, operating every Wednesday and Sunday. There are between 10-20 individual market sellers offering counterfeit Region 1 & 2 DVDs, together with other sellers offering burnt DVDs of recently released titles. The total number of sellers, while substantially reduced from mid-2000s, has increased recently due to a lack of enforcement. State and federal police have shown no interest in enforcing the issue despite multiple entreaties from right holders.
Other physical distribution hotspots around the world include markets in the Ukraine, Toronto, Beijing, Jakarta and Rio.
These physical markets are difficult to tackle for the MPAA and rights-holders due to the supposed connections with organised crime, the MPAA writes:
Perhaps more familiar to the public are the myriad physical markets located around the world that offer consumers burned or pressed infringing optical discs. Many of the markets discussed below are particularly challenging for rights holders because of the strong connections with organized criminal syndicates. In 2009, the RAND Corporation report, Film Piracy, Organized Crime and Terrorism, found “Counterfeiting is widely used to generate cash for diverse criminal organizations. In the case of DVD film piracy, criminal groups are moving to control the entire supply chain, from manufacture to distribution to street sales, consolidating power over this lucrative black market and building substantial wealth and influence in virtually every region of the globe.”
The gallery of photos taken at the Carribean Markets, however, don't seem to paint the place as a clear and present threat to the likes of big Hollywood studios. Not unless criminals all wear face paint now.
We've reached out to the markets to see how they feel about this new title from the MPAA.
The report comes as Australian rights holders, telcos and ISPs await invitations to new government negotiations for an anti-piracy solution. Chaired by the new Attorney-General, George Brandis, the anti-piracy plan may even go as far as allowing rights-holders to sue in order to block access to digital distribution hubs and sites hosting pirated material.
Image via Google Maps