People prefer pirated DVDs

DUBAI — The sales of pirated DVDs and CDs are brisk despite the efforts of UAE authorities to crackdown on the illegal vendors. Their business is roaring as they offer the pirated stuff at a fraction of the cost of original DVDs.

By Asad Iftikhar Shafi

Published: Sat 5 Aug 2006, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:01 PM

A pirated DVD costs around Dh10, whereas an original DVD's starting price is Dh 50. So its not a surprise that majority of the people in UAE who watch movies in English, Hindi, Urdu or any other language, prefer to buy pirated versions.

''Pirated DVDs are so much cheaper than original ones. For the price of one original DVD, I can buy five pirated DVDs. Why would I want to waste my money by buying original DVDs?'' retorts Akram Khan, a movie buff, when asked about why he prefers pirated DVDs.

''Granted that the picture quality of a pirated DVD is inferior to that of an original; but look at the huge difference in the price of the both. The price of an original DVD is equal to that of five pirated DVDs. I would rather compromise on quality and buy five different DVDs rather than just one. Also what is the point in spending so much on an original DVD especially when you are going to watch it only once? If I want to spend money, I would rather buy something that is long lasting and could be continuously used. I can't keep on watching the same DVD, day in and day out,'' reasoned Smriti Pawar, a regular movie watcher.

Apart from the price advantage, another factor that turns the tables in favour of pirated DVDs is their easy availability. ''Original DVDs are sold only in video shops and in selected outlets in some malls. Pirated DVDs can be purchased from anywhere. Not only are they sold in video shops, one can also get them from stalls, street vendors, hawkers, subways and many more places. Nearly every neighbourhood in the country has some place or person from where or from whom these can be bought,'' explained Zohaib Jamal, an illegal street vendor who sells pirated DVDs. ''I live in an apartment building in Bur Dubai. Every two weeks or so, I get a visit from a mobile movie vendor who rings my doorbell and asks me whether I am interested in purchasing latest DVDs. He carries a knapsack on his back and the DVDs are hidden in it. On my invitation he comes inside my flat, opens his knapsack and takes out hundreds of DVDs and places them on my dining table to choose from. I take my time in going through the various DVDs. After I have chosen the ones that I want and have paid him, he packs up and leaves to sell his goods to my neighbours,'' explained Mohan Sai, one of the many thousands of people who choose to buy pirated DVDs.

''One thing is for certain. The illegal business of sale and purchase of pirated DVDs is here to stay. Try as they might, the authorities can only hope to lessen it, not fully eliminate it. The major reason for this is the popularity of pirated DVDs amongst an overwhelming majority of the people of this country,'' he added.

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