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Asian Film counterfeiting is rampant!

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Rick Stelow from Drunkenmaster told me just how bad Asian film counterfeiting has become.  A month ago at Wizard World, he counted 15 dealers carrying counterfeits of Asian films.  A short conversation with a sales rep from Media Blasters confirmed what Rick had to say.  Media Blasters had to stop several dealers from selling counterfeit copies of Versus.  The worst part is that Drunkenmaster and Media Blasters are suffering because of this neglect.  Here are two companies trying to give us the Asian films we want to see and they can’t compete against those that counterfeit their legitimate product.  It has gotten to the point that Rick has thought about either carrying bootlegs himself or quitting.  When I went into Amoeba records the other day, I understood Rick’s pain.  I was astounded to find they too carried counterfeits.  Copies of Cutey Honey, Old Boy, Casshern and Azumi were all for sale and all counterfeits.  What is going on here?

Now, why am I calling them counterfeits?  Because they are not really bootlegs.  These are excellent, quality copies of DVD masters that were illegally obtained or they are copies of DVD’s with subtitles added to them..  These discs are made for less than 2 dollars a piece and then sold for upwards around 13 to 20 dollars.  Amoeba sells these titles because they claim not to know any better.  They also claim that they can’t be bootleg since they come from Hong Kong.  It is scary when an American company is so culturally blind to know that not all Asian films come from Hong Kong.

Right now, Comic Con, WonderCon, AX, and even PMX do nothing about Asian Film Counterfeits.  PMX even allows Cine-East, a big distributor of Asian Film counterfeits in Southern California (which can be verfied by looking at their website) to HOST their Asian Film track.  After checking PMX’s site for this year, Cine-East is once again organizing the Asian Film track.

Counterfeits are hard to spot.  Last year at Fanime, Anime Combo had copies of Ichii the Killer that had Capitol Records on the box.  The box looked legitimate because Capitol records is a recognized name.  You have to realize though that Capitol Records does not put out Ichii the Killer, Media Blasters does.  Easier ways to find counterfeits are if they:
  1.Are All Region and the title was only released in Japan or China.
  2.The box says region 2 or 3 but still plays on your region 1 DVD player.
  3.The copyright on the box does not refer to the company that releases

Industry must step up.  Companies like Media Blasters, Tartan Video, and Columbia need to start punishing these counterfeiters.  We all remember this happening to Anime in the 90’s and to Anime soundtracks just recently.  It was even said that Anime soundtracks would never make it in the US because of the strangle hold Son May and Everanime had on the market.  Now, both are cleaned up.  The same must happen to Asian films as well.

What can you do about it?  Simple, don’t buy these counterfeits, don’t support any store that supplies counterfeits, and certainly don’t go to a convention that allows counterfeiters to sell what ever they want.  These people are ripping off the industry, not giving one dime back to the creators, and are overcharging you, the consumer.

Here's two other culprits I've run accross:
1. The Bi-monthly L.A. Comicbook/Sci-Fi convention held at the Shrine Auditorium, mere miles from Hollywood.  Not only are there bootleg Asian DVD's, I've run accross American, and European films there to (several vendors selling bad PAL transfers of Imortal here).
2. National Productions Computer Fair.  Held on a rotation scheduel iat several locations in L.A.,Santa Barbara, Orange, and San Diego Counties, are several vendors also selling bootlegs.  
At Both venues, I've recently seen Kung-fu Hustle, Beck, Tenjo Tenge, and other DVD's not only for sale, but beeing displayed on monitors on the dealer room floor!  Hell, not long after Spiderman was released in the theatres, vendors (I use the term loosely...) were selling bootleg DVD's!
And as far as Comic Con International, how can companies like Geneon, Viz, ADV Films ect. not be aware of bootlegs of their titles being sold in a dealers room that they're displaying therir wares? :?:

Red Sun DVD has a whole website devoted to the Piracy of Asian Films.  These guys even have this on their website:

If you represent a USA based video distributor and own the exclusive copyright to one of the films we carry, please contact us at: or fax to: 800-454-8102 so we can immediately remove the title(s) from our web site. We will honor your request immediately as we have no wish to infringe on your copyright.

Wow!  So, if you see RED SUN on the label, YOU KNOW it is a bootleg!

Jason Ebner

Even places like Kinokuniya is promoting the fake stuff. I wanted to buy a couple of cds, because only had enough cash on my for 3 of the 5 and both of the ladies at the register, told me to go across the parking lot to the market place and you can get all 5 cds for less that a 1/4. I bought my 3 and went into the market place and behold, a whole section devoted to bootlegs of jpop, jrock, visual kei and movies. I was shocked, but I was desperate and bought one cd from them and holy hell did the thing skip all the way home.

I learned then and there that you get what you pay for.

Wow, interesting.

I bought a copy of Kung Fu Hustle at ReccaCon. I thought to myself, "Hey, this is still in the theaters" but when I looked on the back it says it's Region 3 and I figured it's an "international copy". I have an open region DVD player so I buy it.

After unwrapping the plastic, I notice that the outer cover is printed with a dull finish unlike the high gloss of originals. I figure, must be an 'artistic approach'. So I continue on and take out the case and the first thing I noticed is that the case is made of a low quality recycled thin plastic (really cheap looking). But I figure, no no, they are at ReccaCon which is Jason's Con and he won't stand for bootlegs. Then I open the case and the DVD is sitting in a cheap little plastic bag. I'm thinking.. crap. bootleg. So I examine the screen print on the DVD itself. Not bad, but then again, not good since this is supposed to be from Colombia/Sony. I pop the DVD in and begin to watch. 1/4 way in the movie starts skipping. It chunks so hard to where you can see those digital green and purple squares. Anyone who's made a "back up" :wink: of any DVD has seen these before. But I figured, maybe the DVD player is dirty. I clean it, same results. So I take out the DVD and take it to my living room where I have a brand spanking new DVD player. Same thing... and then it also hits me, isn't this DVD Region 3? This player is NOT my open region one. So I scan past the corrupted parts, enjoy the movie but it still kinda bugged me. So I examine the cover.... here's what I found:

Here's a scanned image of the DVD cover of Kung Fu Hustle that I bought.

I have numbered the errors I found, which are also tell tale signs of a bootleg besides the everything else I explained earlier.

#1 - No UPC. Why not? They don't have 'Universal Pricing Code" in Region 3 areas?

#2 - Typo - Text it cut. This is not a common mistake for originals.

This one can be somewhat dismissable, but let's continue...

#3 - Another Typo.

I thought they could've meant Sound Racks, but the double 'r' is proof that it didn't.

#4 - Typo...

Just because fine print is small and hard to read, doesn't mean no one reads it. Most bootlegs in my experiece also like to purposely mispell the word 'original', since it's not.

#5 - Fun with more typos.

Ok, some typos happen, even with originals. BUT, this is one of the companies name! At first I thought Sany? Isn't it Sony? and don't you mean PICTURES, not PCTURES... but then I look over and I see the Sony logo, so that cleared up the Sany part (never heard of Sany) but look at the Sony Logo, and this one is my favorite.

#6 - Are you ententained yet?

Sony Pictures - Home Ententainment.... OK OK, if you messed up the smaller company's name, that's fine, but Sony's! Wow, I worked for a video game company and I'll tell you, a lot of people go over the covers with a microscope before they go out. But wow, 5 typos and they misspelled on Sony's logo. If this was an original and someone messed up Sony's logo, they should be fired! and since it's in a Region 3 country, they should be caned too!


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