Hong Kong cracks down on Net movie pirates

Bruce Einhorn

Hong Kong's movie industry used to rank up there with Hollywood and Bollywood in terms of output, but in the late 1990s the industry fell on hard times, largely because piracy. Ever since, the city's movie makers have struggled to get people to watch movies in theaters rather than buying pirated DVDs for a few bucks. And in a city with one of the world's highest rates of broadband penetration, illegal downloading of movies off the Internet has just made the problem worse. This year, two of the biggest hits in Hong Kong's movie industry have been "Fearless," a Jet Li kung fu picture, and "McDull the Alumni," the sequel to a movie about a beloved cartoon pig named, naturally, McDull. (Sorry, but I've never seen McDull I or II, so I can't explain the name.) Sure enough, the movies have been popular not only at the box office but also online, thanks to illegal downloading.

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