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28/06/2006

HMV Chief condemns DVD piracy

Steve Knott, Managing Director of HMV was joined by Lord Sainsbury at the annual Trading Standards conference in London’s Royal Victoria Dock last week to talk about the impact of DVD piracy on the retail sector and the importance of protecting intellectual property.
He said: “We are faced with a situation of grossly unfair competition – black market traders who don’t pay legal wages, don’t pay business rates, don’t pay rents, don’t pay taxes and are connected with crimes such as benefit fraud, drugs, human trafficking, exploitation of minors, pornography and violence. It is therefore only right, that under the auspices of the Industry Trust [the industry’s anti piracy body], all High Street retailers should join forces to fight back against this common enemy.”
According to IPSOS, sales of pirate DVDs are up 2% on 2005, with almost 78 million fakes sold last year. The latest figures show the total loss to the whole audio-visual industry through copyright theft is more than £719 million.
Steve Knott continued: “We want all retailers to work hand in hand with their local authorities, and in particular their local trading standards officers, to protect the livelihoods of legitimate retailers and to ensure that local consumers are not duped into buying illegal products, which is not only a video nasty for all the associated crime reasons I mentioned before, but also is a video nasty because of what will be appalling, sub standard quality. Hopefully, the advent of High Definition and Blu Ray technology will further differentiate the quality aspect between legal and illegal product.
“We need to ensure that legitimate businesses can get on with providing consumers with high quality products and environments where they can shop in confidence. But we need to ensure that these businesses can do this by operating on a level competitive playing field.”
The Industry Trust for IP Awareness Ltd was registered in March 2004 as a non-profit making company with the objective of tackling the growing menace of copyright theft. The Trust has raised over £5 million to date to fund its activities, which is being spent across a range of tactics, including retail training, government lobbying, additional support for the industry enforcement agency, FACT, and the consumer awareness campaign.
Anyone who is aware of DVD pirate activity can report it anonymously by calling the campaign hotline 0845 60 34567 or via the campaign website www.piracyisacrime.com
(GB)
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