New Hungarian government initiative against piracy


    The former CEO of a top Hungarian distributor, Andras Kalman, has returned to his former position as executive of the Hungarian Foundation of Public Interest for Copyright Protection of Audiovisual Works (www.asva.hu) to help lead a new government initiative against piracy.

    Kalman, former chief executive of Intercom Kt (www.intercom.hu), had held the position for three years previously and then left it, and the post had been empty since then. He returned after the government established the National Body Against Counterfeiting, which was established Feb. 1 and was due to hold its founding session Monday (March 3).

    "The state authorities didn't stand behind us in the past, but now our work will integrate with the government conception" of the problem, Kalman said in an interview with FNE on Feb. 22.

    "We have lots of work," said Kalman. "But it helped a lot that last year an Anti-Piracy Coalition (APC) was established by all the Hungarian movie and DVD distributors and producers, and game distributors. It's a common problem."

    The statistics are shocking, according to a report on the LEK website (www.lek.com). The yearly loss to the Hungarian black market is $102 million (€67 million) in the distribution sphere and $199 million in retail. Hungarian films alone lose $9 million.

    The good news that in 2007, illegal DVD sales and distribution decreased an estimated 10% to 12%. The main reason for that, however, was a decrease in prices of DVDs in Hungary, Kalman said.