Hollywood Studios Threatens Georgia with Sanctions

The major Hollywood studios, such as Disney, Warner, Universal, Sony, Paramount, Netflix and the rest of MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) members are voicing their concern regarding the increasing piracy issue in Georgia. In the letter addressed to the Georgian National Communications Commission and the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia, MPA underlines the problem of adjaranet.com and imovies.ge – the websites have been illegally pirating the content. The fact presents a significant problem to the country; unless the issue is appropriately addressed the MPAA will put sanctions on Georgia.

Online copyright piracy is the practice of illegally reproducing and sharing information on the internet, such as movies or software. For years, Georgian pirated websites have been offering illegal content to their users. The users are not properly informed that the movie premiers and TV shows on such websites are obtained illegally. The pirated websites not only harm the image of the country, but the cinema industry as a whole. The said websites sell advertising space and generate significant income.

”Reducing piracy continues to be a key priority for us and enforcement is a necessary and important step to achieve this priority. In Georgia, services such as adjaranet.com and imovies.cc, which make available movies from the MPA member companies without their consent, present a significant problem,” reads the letter.

The sanctions the MPAA threatens Georgia with entail belated movie and TV premiers and in certain cases, canceling them completely.

Stolen, pirated content is significantly holding back the legal media and cinema industry. The TV media, cinemas, and other companies pay a high amount of sum to purchase the rights to stream their content. Meanwhile, illegal websites offer their users stolen content for free, which damages the companies who are operating illegally. It is impossible for strong media and regional cinemas to develop. It’s also unlikely for Georgian legal streaming platforms, such as silkgo.ge and silktv.ge, to survive in the unfair, illegal competition.

Streaming illegal content not only damages the country and the content of Hollywood studios being distributed to the Georgian viewers, but it also damages Georgian movie-makers inside and outside of the country. A few days ago, the movie ‘And Then We Danced’ had been leaked illegally, which may prevent the movie’s commercial and festival success. In another instance, the Georgian pirated website stole the movie “My Happy Family” which has been purchased by Netflix but later dropped due to the piracy case. Netflix will not be purchasing other Georgian movie rights in the foreseeable future.

The MPA thanks the Georgian National Communications Commission for the work they carry out against piracy. The organization hopes with the help of the Commission, streaming movies illegally will be prevented in Georgia.

The MPA also welcomes the newly established Anti-Piracy center of Georgia which aims to protect the image of the country and develop the industry within legal frames. The members of the center are the leading media channels, internet providers, movie distributors and many other governmental or private organizations.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

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