Subject: Half of African Movies Sold As Bootleg in the USA
Content: Part 1 By Thomas Kai Toteh Senior Staff Writer A survey conducted in an investigative reporting style shows almost all Africans both in the Diaspora and on the continent are replacing Western and American movies with African Movies. The shelves in most movie loving African homes at home and abroad greatly outnumbered centuries-old western, American, and Indian movies that dominated not only African theaters, but the way of life of particularly young people. To many Africans who have been paying close attention to the birth of the African movie industry only a decade and half ago, the African movie industry mainly based in Nigeria, which of course is now dubbed “African Hollywood” by fans and supporters, is growing significantly.   Ironically, our investigation unveiled a chilling and dark side of the distribution and sales of African movies and music videos in the U.S. Our investigation conducted over the period of one year shows that Africans in the U.S. are robbing African artists of millions of dollars and are greatly undermining the growth and advancement of the African Movie industry by the reproduction of millions of African movies. During our tour to various African stores around the U.S., it was discovered that almost all African videos on shelves are duplicates. Thousand others carry bootlegged African movies in their vehicle from state to state and city to city.    During our investigation, a Jamaican lady in Norfolk, Virginia who can only be identified here as Linda, has a well organized and equipped room where she burns 10-20 African movies every night. On the right corner of her room at the first top shelf are the original movies and the rest of the shelves are all duplicate African DVDs.   When asked why she was burning the DVDs, Linda said she has the go-ahead from the U.S. distributors to do so; adding that the U.S. distributors also burn the DVDs in order to generate more DVDs for sale for the benefits of the artists. When asked whether she and the distributors have permission from the rightful owner of the works before reproducing them, she said, some of the reprinted DVDs are sent to me like “you see them.” In fact, she claimed that some of the works are reprinted in Nigeria and sent to overseas. So, she is also claiming that Nigerians at home also are participating in violating the copyright law of Nigeria and are contributing to the undermining of African movie/music-video industry. According to the online news magazine Village Square,   since the late 1990's, Nigerian movies have found a place next to offerings from Hollywood and Bollywood, Bombay's equivalent, in the cities, towns and villages across English-speaking Africa. Though made on the cheap, with budgets of about only $15,000, the Nigerian movies have become huge hits, with stories, themes and faces familiar to other Africans. It is now, according to conservative estimates, a $45 million a year industry. When contacted, Africa Movie .com based Bronx, New York representative said “We are probably the only online store that sells NOTHING but originals.  By, the way, we are not only retailers, we are also film makers. Consequently, we CANNOT and will NOT sell copies. It is not only our policy; it is also a matter of principle.   The representative, name undisclosed said there are several stores that sell nothing but copies. “I personally challenge anyone who has received copies from us to send us the receipt and the title of the movie; as compensation, they will not only get a full refund of their money. “We will also send them 5 new movies - if possible autographed by the actors. “Now that is a challenge, won't you agree?”  All Nigerian movie production companies we contacted in Nigeria did not respond to our email. But according to estimates provided by producers and financial backers, the Nigerian movie industry now produces more than 400 movies a year. At that rate, the producers bring in an estimated $45 million a year; but other people, at movie centers, and bootleggers, also capitalize from the movies. Source: Village Square.