Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Parallel imports of DVDs to be tested in South Africa

IOL reports that movie production company Universal City Studios and its South African subsidiary are suing 230-store DVD franchise Mr Video to stop it importing movies directly from the United States, complaining that this practice undercuts their cinema circuit profits. This dispute was triggered when Universal discovered that Mr Video was offering copies of popular romantic comedy Knocked Up in early November, before the movie had left the theatre circuit. Mr Video says the practice of buying DVDs overseas is "widespread" and that this issue affects the entire South African movie rental industry.

Universal also says that Mr Video would often remove the "zoning" chip that prevents DVD machines from playing DVDs bought in other parts of the world. Mr Video denies any wrongdoing, adding:
"The videos that are the subject of this application are not counterfeit or pirated copies of Knocked Up; they are copies which were made in the US by or with the permission of the copyright owner".
Mr Video has agreed to stop importing DVDs until the conclusion of the court case, which will be heard on 30 April.

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