HMV Group

KPS - victim of pirates

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 November, 1998, 12:00am


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It was with sadness that I read that KPS Video Express had been put in the hands of the receivers. Having, until recently, worked within the company, I witnessed first-hand, the events that led to this situation.

I am sure that certain decisions, regarding direction and policies, made by the management of KPS did lead to many problems given the current economic downturn.

However, the Government must also shoulder much of the blame for the probable direct loss of around 420 jobs at KPS.

Prior to the passing of the Copyright Ordinance of July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was a mecca for tourists, providing a huge range of competitively priced legal video and audio products imported from around the world. Under the ordinance, a huge proportion of these products were deemed illegal to import and soon vanished from the shelves, radically reducing the range of products and appeal of stores like KPS and HMV.

This issue is minor though compared to the huge effect that pirated VCDs and CDs have had on the sale and rental of legitimate products. The actions of the Customs and Excise Department in stopping piracy have been all but useless.

Pirated products are now not just found in centres in Shamshuipo and Wan Chai, but can be found openly in almost every district in Hong Kong. Policemen can walk past high street shops blatantly displaying all pirated stock day after day and nothing is done.

Up to 50 per cent of jobs within the video and music business, have been lost this year.

Protecting copyrights is not just about supporting the interests of super-rich pop stars and actors, but keeps millions of people worldwide in honest jobs, such as salesmen, studio engineers, stage builders, etc . . . and hard-working friendly staff such as those people who worked at KPS and now find themselves unemployed.