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Tue 2 Mar 2010 12:24 PM

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First legal portal for Arabic video aims to tackle online piracy

Egypt’s Shofha.com offers users an alternative to Apple giant iTunes.

The Middle East’s first legal website to download Arabic video content has just launched, allowing users to download, stream or rent films at DVD quality without resorting to online piracy.

Shofha.com

, run by LINKonLINE, a subsidiary of Orascom’s LINKdotNET, offers films, television series and live television at a price the firm believes is actually cheaper than the many pirated DVDs that are prevalent in the region.

“My direct competitors are the pirate sites, which may offer video for free, but also force users to visit different servers, sites and forums,” Linkonline technology general manager Mostafa Kamel told Arabian Business.

“Our quality, ease of service and the variety of our content makes it so much easier for the end user. Right now we’re working on increasing our library size to at least 99 or 100 percent of all Arabic content that is being produced every year.”

While Kamel claimed that he did not see Apple giant iTunes as a direct competitor, he did admit that Shofha.com similarly offers an alternative for users to obtain quality movies and media content.

“From an intellectual property rights perspective, every movie producer is complaining that internet piracy is destroying their sales, and hurting their ability to continue working,” Kamel continued.

“But for me, as a user, I’d prefer to go to one website that has everything I needs and where the downloading cycle itself is a lot simpler.

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