More than 180,000 pirated DVDs and VCDs were confiscated by the Ministry of Culture in the first eight months of this year, officials said yesterday.
According to a statement released by the ministry, 157,316 discs were seized in Phnom Penh, while the remainder were taken from shops in Kandal, Kompong Cham and Ratanakkiri provinces.
“Most of the discs were karaoke DVDs and Khmer films,” Khim Sarith, secretary of state with the ministry, said by telephone yesterday. He added that 1,236 pornographic films and a few foreign films were also confiscated by police in cooperation with the ministry.
According to the ministry’s figures, three televisions and three VCD players were also confiscated in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, and 27 computers were seized in Kandal province on suspicion that the equipment was used to transfer pornographic movies to DVD.
Mr Sarith said that some of the vendors targeted in the seizures have been fined for violating Cambodian intellectual property laws. He added that he did not have figures for the number of people fined or the value of the penalties.
Eng Song Liep, general director of Rasmey Hangmeas productions, said yesterday that pirated discs are a big problem for the film industry in Cambodia.
“These people don’t respect or even follow the law,” he said. “We spent time thinking of ideas, and we spent our labor to produce the [Karaoke] song. They spend nothing—they just wait for our product to be ready and make a copy.”
Mr Song Liep said that he is worried Cambodian companies could go bankrupt because of the rampant piracy.
“This is a problem not only for my company, but for others, too,” he said. “One hour after we release a production, they copy it and sell it right in front of us without any shame,” he said.
Mr Song Liep added that his company charges about $2.50 for a video, while the pirated copies sell for between $0.25 and $0.38.
“The prices are too far apart to compare. But some people still purchase the originals because they are concerned about quality,” he noted.