South Africa's major entertainment company, Johnnic communications unveiled a multi-million rand public education campaign to combat piracy over the festive season which is beginning to see results.

In this past week alone a consignment of over 13,300 pirated DVDS was intercepted at customs at Johannesburg International Airport. Advertisements in the campaign show ordinary South Africans buying DVDs from roadside sellers, listening to music downloaded off the Internet and playing pirated games. By doing so, says the campaign, thousands of South Africans are becoming supporters of crime.

Johncom Group Marketing Director Neil Jacobsohn said investigations by the industry had shown that DVD piracy alone in SA cost the international film industry $30m last year. And pirated computer and console games cost the copyright owners $22m.

The SA Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact) Managing Director Fred Potgieter says that about 100,000 pirated DVDs pass through Johannesburg International every month, and the seizure of 190,000 fake DVDs last year only accounted for about 10% to 15% of total pirate shipments to country. The piracy rate in the country is estimated at 38%.

The local film industry lost about R430 million in revenue because of pirated DVDs last year. Safact confiscated 39,200 counterfeit DVDs with a street value of R9.8m in December alone, with titles ranging from The Return Of The King and The Last Samurai to Kill Bill Vol. 1 which is only released theatrically here this Friday.