For $5, you can still get a copy of a newly released movie in DVD

National 2 minutes, 37 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

PIRATED CDs and DVDs may not be a thing of the past in the Sultanate with several shops around the district still selling the illegal merchandise.

The Brunei Times visited some shops in the Gadong, Jerudong and Rimba areas and found CDs and DVDs carrying the ‘Ori’ (original) hologram stickers but going for less than $10; some were sold for as low as $5 per piece.

A small store in Rimba sold almost all their available DVDs at $5, with the most expensive ones at $8, including the latest Hollywood Blockbuster movies that just hit cinemas a few months back.

When asked about the authenticity of the goods and their low prices, shop assistants would say everything is “original” and that they do not sell any pirated CDs.

Others say the products were from Malaysian and Indonesian suppliers to defend the prices of the products.

Several shops, however, did lace original music CDs into the mix, with ‘original’ hologram stickers and the CDs selling for $20-30.

According to the Speedy Video Website, a popular video store based in Malaysia, movie DVDs and music CDS are often priced at around $21.80 (RM49.90).

A 21-year-old female who asked not to be named was a part of the illegal trade for a brief period, spoke to The Brunei Times about her involvement with the store in Rimba for about two months before realising the true predicament she was in.

She was doubtful of the authenticity of the CDs and DVDs she was shelving and selling when she worked as a sales girl at the shop and even asked her employer about it, but her employer said that they were original.

After her friends convinced her that she was working at a ‘communist shop’, she followed her gut instincts and left the job for good.

“The CDs had stickers and everything but were really cheap, it looked a lot like the products sold at the ‘kedai komunis’ (communist shop) back in Gadong before it was raided and closed down.”

The owner of W.W.W. Video popularly known as ‘kedai komunis’ was charged back in October 2010, following two counts of infringing the intellectual property rights of a Malaysian recording company Suria Records Sdn Bhd.

Following a year-long trial which started in July 2011, Yong Teck Sang was sentenced up to six months in jail and a fine of $5,000 under the Brunei Darussalam’s Emergency (Copyright) Order 1999 after being found guilty of selling Hari Raya records of famous singer, Siti Nurhaliza, without permission.

Under the order, anyone found guilty of copyright offences relating to the sale and distribution of pirated music could be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years, a fine or both.

US-based International Intellectual Property Alliance placed Brunei Darussalam under the ‘priority watch-list’ in 2009, citing that the retail optical disk market in the country was 100 per cent pirate in their 2009 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection and Enforcement.

Brunei was then moved to their ‘watch-list’ in 2011 and 2012 before being taken off the list in 2013 following significant efforts done by the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), Attorney General’s Chamber and Recording Industry of Malaysia.

The Brunei Times