Lisa Surihani: If piracy destroys local industry, will I end up selling tudung?

Celebrity spokesperson Lisa Surihani speaks during Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit Forum Session in Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Pictures by Miera Zulyana
Celebrity spokesperson Lisa Surihani speaks during Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit Forum Session in Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Pictures by Miera Zulyana

SERDANG, Feb 14 — Actor and celebrity Lisa Surihani sounded the alarm today on the impact that digital piracy will have on the local entertainment industry, saying it would further ruin the already crumbling scene.

The goodwill ambassador of Unicef Malaysia also jokingly warned that if the industry collapses, she may end up just selling “tudung”, or headscarves for Muslim women.

“They don’t realise they’re part of the crumbling ecosystem, crumbling industry,” Lisa said in a forum during the Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit here, referring to content pirates.

“If they continue on doing it, then the creative industry as it is already rippling, it will have a domino effect. If it continues it will collapse... no more content lah.”

“Then people like me will end up having to sell ‘tudung’. Even so, ‘tudungs’ can be copied,” she joked.

In the Malay entertainment industry, it is a common trope that female celebrities would shift their attention to entrepreneurship, especially selling their own brand of “tudung”, once their fame began to wane.

Despite that, local brands such as Naelofar by former actress and model Noor Neelofa Mohd Nor, and the luxurious dUCk by socialite Vivy Yusof have all ended up counterfeited at much cheaper prices.

Lisa had earlier in the forum related that once, a pirate DVD seller had even attempted to seek her autograph on a pirated DVD of her own film.

Noting that softer approaches have failed in deterring piracy, Lisa has urged for harsher punishments and enforcement.

Finas member Adrian Teh speaks during Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit Forum Session in Putrajaya February 14, 2019.
Finas member Adrian Teh speaks during Kuala Lumpur Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit Forum Session in Putrajaya February 14, 2019.

In the same forum, film director Adrian Teh also warned that piracy may just end up killing the career of potential filmmakers, especially if they become victims when they are just starting and their financials depend on their films.

Teh said it has become a norm for Malaysian viewers to just wait for the pirated versions of a local films, rather than catching them in the cinemas.

“Piracy does not also steal from us, it kills also,” said the director of 2018 military action film Paskal The Movie, which collected RM30 million, making it the third highest grossing local film ever.

The inaugural summit today was organised by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in collaboration with the Coalition Against Piracy and the Asia Video Industry Association.

It was supported by local content industry including Astro, Media Prima Bhd, dimsum, and iflix. 

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