Everyone's done it - or at least considered it - wherever you are in the world. And Dubai has cracked down in recent years with whole operations shut down. But the life of a fake DVD seller is difficult one, and echos the hardship felt by many other migrant workers in Dubai and the UAE. But this is a mafiose type business. Why? Because the margins associated with the fake, illegal DVDS are so high. There is payment for intellectual property, so the cost is essentially the cost of the DVD and minimal overhead:
X.W., who declined to give his real name, is one of the only visible elements in a vast and shadowy criminal enterprise, which is now more lucrative for mafia gangs than the drugs trade. Officials say that DVDs are copied for around Dh3 each and are then sold on for Dh10 — offering a 230 per cent profit. A kilogramme of heroin, on the other hand, can offer a profit of just half that. ‘There are also less risks attached,’ said Khalid Babiker El Nour, a senior adviser at the Legal Affairs Department of Dubai Customs.‘DVD sellers face only around three months in jail, compared to 10 years for selling drugs. It’s a logical choice for most mafia gangs today,’ he added.
You need an army of people to sell to get to the actual amounts of profit associated with drug dealing in dubai, for example. But the risks are a lot lower. 3 months in jail versus your life is perhaps a risk worth taking for some individuals.
We have talked about the business of dodgey DVDs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
before. What's the solution? The solution would be to make it a crime to buy counterfeit goods. Place in front of a generally law abiding expat the fact that there is 1 month in jail plus deportation associated with buying counterfeit goods from anyone - whether that's in Karama market or from the DVD lady or man who come to your appartment on a monthly basis - and you'll see a drop off in this sort of mafia lead business.
And it will remove the uncomfortable moment when the DVD seller asks you whether you want to look in the "special" bag, you realise that "special" doesn't mean latest blockbuster but means that special type of movie that could probably result in a jail sentence in its own right, and may even ruin your realtionship...or make it spicier.The Private Street Life
of a Fake DVD Seller
Labels: fake dvds