US-pirated-film-tv.jpgThe US film-industry watchdog, the Motion Picture Association of America, has identified Australia as among the “most notorious marketplaces for the distribution of illegal film and television shows,” listing the Caribbean Gardens and Markets in Scoresby, Victoria as a piracy black spot.

According to a report by the MPAA, Caribbean Gardens had “between 10-20 individual market sellers offering counterfeit Region 1 & 2 DVDs, together with other sellers offering burnt DVDs of recently released titles.” The report continued, “The total number of sellers, while substantially reduced from mid-2000s, has increased recently due to a lack of enforcement. State and federal police have shown no interest in enforcing the issue despite multiple entreaties from right holders.”

The MPAA’s watch list of international marketplaces was provided to the Office of the US Trade Representative–the government department which negotiates international trade agreements on behalf of the United States.

Other countries named for rampant piracy include Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Ireland, Thailand, and Russia. Besides the Caribbean Gardens, other physical markets cited in the report included China’s Hailong Electronics Shopping Mall in Beijing, the Ukraine’s Barabashovo Open Market, and Northern Ireland’s Jonesborough Market.

The MPAA’s targets also included peer-to-peer networks and websites like in Sweden, in Canada and in China; download and streaming hubs like Vkontakte and in Russia and in the Netherlands were named as worst offenders.

According to the MPAA, America’s motion picture and television industries support an estimated two million jobs worth about 109 billion dollars in total wages. The report insists, “The rogue overseas marketplaces highlighted … undermine the people who work hard to create the movies and TV shows audiences love, and jeopardize the billions of dollars they contribute to the US economy.” Notoriously illegal foreign trade centers were described as an “immediate threat to legitimate commerce, impairing legitimate markets’ viability and curbing US competitiveness.”

Everyone who works on film or television–from the actors and producers to the makeup artists and grips–expect to be paid for their efforts as well as their talents. Unfortunately, many people listed on the credits get dumped when budget cuts occur as a result of piracy. As an actor, you are not just a consumer of media; you’re part of the media itself. Consequently, you have a vested interest in the sanctity of the cinematic product. Just look what happened to the financial world of music when file sharing became prevalent: A good many of the record companies and their employees, as well as related industries, went belly up, never to return.

What do you think of piracy? Do you think twice when someone offers you a pirated DVD? Do you ever watch copyright-protected material online? Should there be greater regulation and enforcement as it pertains to cinematic, intellectual property? And are you concerned about the future of your chosen field?