Actors fight against movie thefts

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Actors fight against movie thefts

This year’s Pusan International Film Festival provided the perfect platform for a public campaign against illegal movie downloading. The Good Downloader campaign was launched by an ad-hoc task force organized by the Korean Film Council and supported by the Culture Ministry.

“I ask all of you to be good downloaders so that we can continue to see a lot of good movies and enjoy film festivals like PIFF,” said actress Uhm Jung-hwa, one of 12 celebrities supporting the campaign.

“Reckless, illegal movie downloading online decreases the quality of all Korean films ” said actor Jang Dong-gun. “So it affects not only actors and movie industry officials, but also cinema audiences. It’s a matter of grave concern because it gnaws at the local film industry.”

Movie downloading became a hot issue recently when illegal copies of the Korean blockbuster “Haeundae” began circulating even before the film had finished its theatrical run.

Veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki, who heads the celebrity group, says this campaign is different from previous ones calling for bans on free online downloading. Rather, it encourages downloading at authorized sites.

“Legal movie downloading can actually help boost the local film industry by offering a new profit structure,” Ahn said.

According to actor Park Joong-hoon, also involved in the campaign, the local film industry was estimated to be worth 1.3 trillion won ($1.1 billion) as of 2006, whereas the illegal download market was worth 600 billion won.

Surprisingly, public awareness about the illegality of movie downloading has decreased in recent years. According to the Korean Film Council, 65.3 percent of people responding to a survey said they were aware that movie downloading at an unauthorized site was illegal in 2005. But the number declined to 56.6 percent in 2006, 46.8 percent in 2007 and 42.8 percent last year.

By Park Sun-young []

From left: Ahn Sung-ki, Ha Ji-won, Kim Ha-neul, Uhm Jung-hwa, Jang Dong-gun and Park Joong-hoon support the Good Downloader campaign at the PIFF Village outdoor stage on the second day of the international film festival. [YONHAP]
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