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Oscar winner Tsotsi hit by widespread piracy

Tsotsi, the South African gangster film based on the exploits of a shantytown thug, has itself become the target of criminal gangs who are selling pirated DVD copies across the country.

Voted the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscar awards, the film has seen its makers fĂȘted by the South African public, but industry experts says piracy is undermining the artists.

On the streets in Durban and Gauteng, pirated DVD copies of the film sell for Rand 50. Ster Kinekor says the black-market copies are different to the official version and now investigations are under way to determine where they originated.

James Lennox, the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft, says the downside is that its also hurting artists. Gavin Hood, the director of the film, has pleaded with the nation to assist in protecting the copyright of Tsotsi. Hood says their request to the people is please go and see the movie in the cinema or wait for the real DVD which is coming in a couple of months.

Tsotsi has already grossed more than R4.2 million at cinemas across the country. But DVD piracy is affecting gate takings and taking the shine of Oscar Gold and now calls are being made in parliament for more stringent measures against copyright theft.

Parliament has called on people who have information about people distributing or in possession of pirated DVD copies of Tsotsi to report them. It said that those who know about the distribution of pirated copies and keep quiet are just as guilty as those selling them. (Source: SABC News).

Story filed 15.03.06

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