Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NY Times: 'In Shanghai, Hiding Bootlegs Before the World Visits'

Interesting story in the NY Times about how shops purveying pirated DVDs in Shanghai have been ordered by authorities to hide their contraband in advance of the World Expo:
The latest mystery in Shanghai, complete with sliding bookshelves, secret passageways and contraband goods, is this: Why are all the popular DVDs and CDs missing from this city’s shops?

But it’s a mystery easily solved. In China, embarrassments are usually hidden from sight when the world comes visiting, and that is what has happened to a large supply of bootleg DVDs and CDs as Shanghai prepares for the World Expo, which is expected to attract 70 million visitors.

A few weeks ago, government inspectors fanned out across the city and ordered shops selling pirated music and movies to stash away their illegal goods during the expo, a six-month extravaganza that opens May 1.

But shop owners found a novel way to comply — they simply chopped their stores in half.

In a remarkable display of uniformity, nearly every DVD shop in central Shanghai has built a partition that divides the store into two sections: one that sells legal DVDs (often films no one is interested in buying), and a hidden one that sells the illegal titles that everyone wants — Hollywood blockbusters like "Avatar" (for a dollar), Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and even Lady Gaga’s latest CD "The Fame."

I guess the fact that China now considers rampant, out-in-the-open piracy an "embarrassment" is a sign of progress...

1 comment:

  1. It's only embarrassing because foreigners don't like it, not because they internally don't like it. If they didn't like it then the inspectors could have shut them down.


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