The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is planning to fund an anti-piracy programme in Serbia and Montenegro, where it is estimated that 90-95% of films on television and on video are pirated.

If funding from the Hollywood studios is forthcoming, the MPAA is also weighing up plans to open an agency in Serbia which, in partnership with local distributors, would help enforce a proposed new local anti-piracy law.

The move follows the July launch of an MPAA campaign to crack down on piracy in Asia, in particular Hong Kong. A new reward programme was launched there offering money in exchange for information on known pirates.

Wendy McCallam, the Director of Anti-Piracy Operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Jimmy Katz, the Vice President of Commercial Affairs of the MPAA both visited Belgrade to discuss the issue last week.

They talked to representatives of the Serbian Anti-Piracy Association, local distributors and officials from Serbian government about ways of putting a stop to the piracy that has affected Serbia and Montenegro for the past twelve years.

Piracy in Serbia and Montenegro affects both rental and sell-through video and DVD. There are also about 300 local TV stations broadcasting pirated films and redistributing pay cable TV channels such as Canal +.

The representatives of MPAA have been reassured by distributors, who form most of the Anti-Piracy Association, and Government officials, that they seriously intend to put a stop to piracy.

A key problem is the lack of anti-piracy enforcement mechanisms and an inadequate Intellectual Property Law. The draft of the new Intellectual Property Law is expected to be discussed in the Federal Parliament at the end of September.