Dubai jails 6 for DVD offences
Chris Forrester

The Middle East is a centre of DVD and other software piracy. Six “foreign nationals” have been convicted and jailed in Dubai for selling unauthorised DVDs.

Dubai Courts say that this is the first-ever imprisonment (previous penalties have been financial) related to the sale of grey market imports. These are legitimately produced DVDs that have been imported from another country. The 6 individuals include a store manager sentenced to 2 months in jail, a 20,000 Dirhams fine and eventual deportation from the Emirate.

While facts behind the case are a little sketchy, it has been widely recognised that some DVDs (and Blu-ray discs) are on sale in Dubai ahead of their formal release in the region by the legitimate distributor. It is also possible to buy the very latest releases at Dubai’s airport duty free shop despite the discs not having been released for sale locally. The actual shop where these ‘offences’ took place was not revealed.

“The result [served] as a strong precedent against parallel imports which we can expect to further reduce this type of IPR crime," added Scott Butler, CEO of the Dubai-based Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance.