Lap Tang, whose San Jose-based firm dubs Vietnamese-language sound tracks onto Chinese and Taiwanese television shows, says that more than half the Vietnamese families in America rent and watch his videocassettes.
The problem, he said, is that some, perhaps most, of those cassettes are pirated versions. And since profits have fallen so low, he must fight back, Tang said.
Not surprisingly, Tang is most concerned about pirate sales in Orange County, where the largest Vietnamese community in the United States is also his largest market. And Tang is not the only one who is concerned.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge William J. Rea in Los Angeles issued a preliminary injunction against owners of three video rental stores in Westminster and Garden Grove, plus one in Los Angeles and one in Pomona. The order forbids the owners to duplicate any of Tang's cassettes, pending the outcome of Tang's lawsuit seeking $200,000 in damages.
According to Tang, his firm, Vietnam International Video Dubbing & Distributing Corp., has the exclusive rights to transcribe onto videocassette the programs of the three Taiwanese television networks plus some independent stations in Hong Kong.
Dubbed by Vietnamese Actors
In studios in San Jose, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, Vietnamese actors dub between 40 and 60 hours of TV programming a month, which are recorded onto videocassettes and sent to communities in the United States and parts of Canada, Tang said.
He added that Orange County accounts for about a fourth of his business, followed by Houston, Boston and San Jose.
The judge's order affects Kim-Do Video and International Video & Imports in Garden Grove, Global Music Center in Westminster, Dong Phuong Video Center in Los Angeles and Hoa Phuong in Pomona.
David Murray, the attorney for most of the video stores being sued, said Tang is exaggerating the situation.
"They haven't produced hundreds and hundreds (of pirate tapes) like the plaintiff would like us to believe. It's a couple of people trying to make a living in little video stores and really not a big deal," Murray said.
"They were told by Vietnam Video that if you buy a tape from them, they can copy it. Now they're being sued, and it's because they're not buying enough tapes (from Vietnam Video)."