The Motion PictureAssociation (MPA) and Singapore home video licensee Alliance Entertainment havereached an out-of-court settlement with the TS Group which was sued forcopyright infringement.

As part of the settlementterms, TS, a group of home video companies with over 20 retail outlets in Singapore, has admitted illegally infringing four copyrightedtitles (Die Another Day, Double Vision, Solaris and Vampires: LosMuertos). It is required to pay significant damages to both the MPA and Alliance and acknowledge its wrongdoings in two Singapore newspapers.

Last year, Alliance together with New Line Cinema won a case in courtagainst TS for infringing the copyright of LordOf The Rings: Two Towers. Alliance also won another case with New Line Cinema and VillageRoadshow Pictures for Lord Of The Rings:Return Of The King and Matrix 2and Matrix 3 when TS consented tojudgment.

"TS has been blatantlypassing off pirated products as legitimate parallel imports and chargingconsumers the legitimate price over a long period of time," says Alliancemanaging director Tan Poh Lam, adding that he is currently working with severalcopyright owners to decide what appropriate action to take for another batch ofinfringed titles.

While MPA estimates that itsmember companies lose US$896 million in potential revenue to piracy annually inAsia Pacific, parallel imports have also emerged as a serious threat to Singapore - an estimated 48% of the industry's total revenueswere affected last year. Some parallel imports make their way to the city-stateeven before the film has opened in theatres.

According to an industrysurvey conducted last year, up to 67% of the respondents can't tell thedifference between parallel imports and pirated/licensed products. Singapore's film and video industry has been lobbying thegovernment for a nine-month window period to achieve a stronger copyrightprotection but to little avail.