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Fox to sell films in China to help reduce piracy

From Times Wire Services

News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox film group will sell movies in China through an agreement with Zoke Culture Group, the largest video distributor there, to help cut down on DVD piracy.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will start selling videos including “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties” and films such as “X-Men: The Last Stand” this month with Zoke, the News Corp. unit said Monday.

Moviemakers such as Fox are trying to recoup some of the $1.2 billion that the Motion Picture Assn. of America estimates its members, the world’s six largest studios, lost in Asian sales last year because of piracy. Time Warner Inc. in September said it might sell movies on DVDs in China when they were released in U.S. theaters to discourage illegal copying.

The Chinese Fox Home Entertainment office will be located with Zoke in Guangzhou, while the studio’s Beijing office will continue to manage Fox’s theatrical distribution.

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The U.S. film industry lost $6.1 billion to piracy in 2005 worldwide, the Motion Picture Assn. has said, with more than half of that attributable to illegal DVD copies of movies.

The agreement with Zoke was announced as Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez opened a trip to Beijing to help American entrepreneurs clinch deals and to discuss barriers that have contributed to a soaring and politically touchy Chinese trade surplus.

Bloomberg News and the Associated Press were used in compiling this report.


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