If challenges like COVID, low screen count and low ticket sale were not enough for the local film industry, a new plague has risen. The nascent film industry saw a little boost, courtesy two big Eid releases like London Nahi Jaunga and Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, both reasonably well made films with an equally good box office response. The films however, seem to have another challenge: piracy, a widely and eternally decried practice affecting film and entertainment businesses worldwide.
A few days ago, the team at Galaxy Lollywood observed the pirated version of LNJ being sold on Pakistan’s biggest online shopping website, Daraz.
To add more irony to the already frustrating situation, the film that took a huge budget, and blood and sweat to make in the challenging times of COVID, was being sold with a meagre price tag in the name of “Azadi Sale”.
A day following this observation, Galaxy Lollywood received a voice note and screenshots from Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad director, Nabeel Qureshi, who observed similar blatant violation of Pakistan’s anti piracy laws where pirated and poor quality copies of the film were being sold in the name of Azadi Sale.
Innumerable copies of both films have been sold on the website of the shopping giant, as is evident from the comments section of the website. And it is surprising that such a huge platform would commit such blatant and blunt violation of Pakistan’s piracy laws.
It is pertinent to mention that Daraz is owned by the multi-billion dollar international giant Alibaba, and that makes Alibaba equally involved in this crime. Galaxy Lollywood tried to reach the representatives at Daraz, but no response could be obtained. However, Fizza Ali Meerza, the producer of Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad has informed Galaxy Lollywood that legal action will be pursued in this case.
In such a situation, the frustration and anger of film makers is justified and apt. Piracy is a clear cut crime that is the same as any kind of theft of property, and practices like these, where films that are already being screened at cinemas are stolen with their poor quality rips and sold illegally on online E-commerce platforms, is criminal, to say the least. The concerned authorities should take notice of this so that such kinds of practices are discouraged in future.