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2 March, 2011  ▪  Roman Malko

Petrivka rules!

We Ukrainians can be proud of ourselves: we have finally been recognized as leaders. Of course, we are leading in the field of copyright piracy — but this is still a great achievement. At least there is one place where we are not lagging behind

The United States Department of Commerce listed Kyiv’s Petrivka market among the 17 pirated goods markets that are causing the greatest damage to the intellectual rights holders across the world. Other markets on the list are in China, Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, and Russia.

These Americans are as persistent as mosquitoes on a summer night. Somehow they managed to count that Petrivka has over 300 points where pirated goods such as music, movies, games, and software are sold. I won’t deny the statement, but I doubt that anyone has actually gone along the aisles and done the counting. Even if this is so, this information should have been, no doubt, shared with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies — they are going all out to fight and overcome intellectual pirates but have made little progress thus far, presumably because they don’t have a clue where to look for.

Not wanting to take Americans’ word for it, we at The Ukrainian Week decided to visit Petrivka market and see for ourselves if it is truly teeming with pirates.

Let me say right off the bat that pirates in fact do exist there. Some booths indeed sell CDs of, shall we say "different" cultural and artistic quality and legality of origin. All of these suspect goods differ in both quality and price and yet there are quite a few booths which do not – as a matter of principle – sell counterfeit goods.

The first disk that has caught my eye was a licensed copy of the movie Tourist. A fairly good licensed Ukrainian- and Russian-language copy costs UAH 55 on average. A similar copy, but not licensed and only in Russian, sells for UAH 45. And then there is a totally suspicious copy recorded together with five other movies in unknown format (a so-called collection) priced at UAH 35. This same movie recorded on a licensed disk was later discovered in a nearby store with a little over UAH 58 on its price tag. 

The same goes for books. For example, Lina Kostenko’s bestselling Zapysky samashedshoho (Diary of a Madman) is available at Petrivka for UAH 50-60, while a bookstore will charge up to UAH 80. Can you feel the difference?


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