Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Ne laissez pas faire!

How ya like them unfettered market forces now, bitch?

The American film industry is fighting rampant DVD piracy in Russia with a radical new tactic: cutting prices.

To fight piracy here, where 9 out of 10 DVD's sold are counterfeit copies, Columbia TriStar, a division of Sony, will price DVD's at no more than 299 rubles, or just over $10, less than half its current price. Warner Home Video, a division of Time Warner, has already cut its DVD prices in Russia to the equivalent of $15.

"The idea is to get Russian consumers used to buying licensed material, but at a price that most of the population can afford," said Vyacheslav Dobychin, general director of Columbia TriStar's licensee here. Columbia TriStar is setting up its own factory outside of downtown Moscow, which later this month is to start churning out licensed copies of "Bad Boys 2," "Big Fish," "S.W.A.T." and other movie hits.

The low-price idea has long been anathema to industry advocates in the United States. "You can never compete on price with a pirate," said Jack Valenti in a recent telephone interview. The longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America, he has made stern copyright enforcement his rallying cry.