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Monday, November 18, 2002
Debut for pirated Harry Potter DVD

Available on the street at just $3 (1.9 pounds), pirated DVD versions of "Harry Potter (news - web sites) and the Chamber of Secrets" went on sale in Malaysia the same weekend the movie made its worldwide debut. The film earned $142 million at the box office in its first weekend in North America and eight international markets. It also opened at cinemas in Malaysia -- regarded by the entertainment industry as one of Asia's hotspots for piracy -- as well as Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore.

A woman selling the copy on the sidewalk of a shopping district in Kuala Lumpur said she was charging 50 cents extra for Harry Potter in case she was caught because the film was bound to attract more attention from the law.

"I have to charge a bit more as the risk is greater," the woman said as her colleagues kept an eye out for patrols.

She said she had been fined 1,000 ringgit (166 pounds) several times before, and sometimes made to buy at full price multiple copies of discs produced by legitimate Malaysian manufacturers as a penalty.

Malaysian authorities have clamped down on disc sellers on the street and run spot checks of licensed optical disc manufacturers' factories to ensure they are not running a sideline in illegal copying.

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