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TV pirates draining Lebanese economy

New report shows that the illegal pirating of international satellite TV channels is costing the Lebanese economy over US$40 million a year.

The Lebanese economy is losing over US$40 million a year through piracy of international satellite TV channels alone, a report by market research company Statistics Lebanon has revealed. This figure is derived from losses in tax revenue, compounded by the deterioration of all sectors of the audiovisual market, including a 50 percent decline in cinema attendance and the closure of more than 3,000 video rental stores.

“Our major problem in Lebanon is satellite piracy,” says Ola Khudair of the Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance (AAA), who protect the intellectual property rights of cable companies in the region.

“This survey reveals to the government exactly how much money is being lost and how piracy is affecting the economy. It is a major problem in Lebanon and it affects everything. It affects the economy, the right holders and then video shops and the theatres,” she continues.

Ms Khudair goes on to explain how enforcing copyright laws can be a major boost to the economy of an area. “In Dubai, for example, four years ago there were about twenty cinema screens and now there are over a hundred, Showtime had four employees, now they have 120. This is why it (copyright protection) is so important. If people feel that their investment is being protected then they will come and invest in a country, if not they will never come.”

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