Over 50 000 DVDs and CDs with an estimated street value of more than R5 million seized at various raids conducted by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) compliance officers were destroyed at the Durban Beach Blue Lagoon recently.

The destruction of DVDs and CDs prevents them in finding their way back to the market

This was a joint operation between FPB Durban regional office in partnership with the South African Police Services, Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation and South African Federation Against Copyright Theft.

The DVDs that were destructed are from exhibits of concluded court cases. According to FPB, majority of the confiscated material comes from Durban Central area and consists of a large percentage of Hollywood and local and a small percentage of Nollywood, Bollywood and pornography titles.

Abongile Mashele, FPB’s acting chief operations officer said that the destruction process is conducted purely to prevent the confiscated DVDs and CDs in finding their way back to the market.

“Most of the confiscated material was unclassified and contained pornographic material which were sold on the streets and taxi ranks, which carries the risk of exposing children to harmful material,”  said Mashele.

Some of the DVDs and CDs being taken out before the destruction process began

She said that the impact of illegal distribution of DVDs and CDs is a scourge that negatively impacts on the industry as well as the economy of the country. “Piracy peddlers steal intellectual property, they steal revenue due to destitute families by depriving them of royalties. People lose their jobs as more DVD shops close due to poor business.”

The Films and Publications Act 65 of 1996, as amended (Act) prohibits the distribution of unclassified films and games.  The Act further requires the classification decisions to be clearly and conspicuously displayed, the failure of which could render one liable upon prosecution to a period of imprisonment of up to 6 months, a fine or both.

The FPB is constantly conducting outreach and awareness campaigns with the intention to educate the public on, among other things, the significance of age ratings, a process informed by the classification process.