Saudis crack down on DVD piracy

Chris Forrester

38,000 counterfeit DVDs and CDs were seized from illegal street sellers in Saudi Arabia last week. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information confiscated the fakes as part of a local crackdown to curb the Saudi market for counterfeit products, estimated to be worth $4bn, according to the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA).

The street sellers were questioned by police in an attempt to source the manufacturers. Scott Butler, CEO, AAA, said: “This campaign has generated significant awareness among the public that the government is taking a strong stand against street sales of pirated materials."

Saudi Arabia has always been a danger point for pirated Hollywood content. There are no cinemas in the kingdom, and so-called ‘Western’ distribution of movies are subject to strict censorship – hence the buoyant trade in illegal copies which are frequently uncut.

The police targeted vendors at the city’s Olaya market and then expanded their search to Haraj Bin Gassem, south of the Riyadh. After being questioned by authorities to find out key supplier information, the vendors were made to sign pledges, promising not to repeat their unlawful actions.