With no access to DVDs, many in Brunei eye online piracy

A local DVD store in Gadong has emptied its shelves of pirated DVDs in compliance with the Municipal Department's directive.

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - With retailers of pirated DVDs forced to shut their shops this week, many locals have said they will now turn to the online piracy for their fix of the latest movies and music.

Many video, music and software stores were ordered to clear their stock of illegal reproductions by May 21, or face having their license revoked by the Municipal Department.

Businesses in violation of the directive were told to close their doors, although whether the closures are permanent remains to be seen.

Twenty-three-year-old student Haziq Hj Nudin told The Brunei Times that until the authorities' crackdown on Internet piracy, Bruneians will still have access to illegally-distributed material.

"We're a very Internet-savvy population, so it will not be hard for people to adjust to the change. Sure getting rid of physical copies like DVDs and VCDs will help fight piracy in Brunei, but it will just drive up the level of online piracy."

Mei Ling Leong, a frequent customer of DVD stores, added that shutting down the shops will force people to turn to the Internet.

"I do download movies but sometimes I prefer to buy the pirated DVDs because you know which ones are clear copies and which are cinema copies," said the bank teller.

"On the Internet it's kind of a guessing game until you download it, and sometimes E-speed is too slow to download big files. But I guess now I have no other choice."

Another patron of video shops, Asymawi Kefli, said that despite the closure of many of Brunei's video chains, people can still stream or download movies and television shows online.

"They can shut down the DVD shops, but all the same stuff is still available online. It is free, faster and more convenient. And there's no one trying to stop online piracy in Brunei yet."

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