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20/05/2005

UK emerging as key producer of pirate DVDs

New seizure figures released by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) indicate that the UK is becoming a key player in the production of pirate DVDs.
Large quantities of blank DVDRs (recordable discs) used for producing counterfeit copies of films are typically smuggled into the UK from Asia Pacific countries, then distributed to British pirates who ‘burn’ films onto them.
Since last year FACT has instigated 50 per cent more investigations into DVD burning facilities, reflecting the surge in piracy in the UK and highlighting the increased need for investigative capacities to control this phenomenon.
The number of pirate discs seized in the first quarter of 2005 totals 680,000, which is a 41 per cent increase on last year’s total for the same period; seizures of DVDRs have increased by a massive 200 per cent.
Another factor indicating that home-grown piracy production is on the up, is the dramatic reduction in seizures of imported pirate DVDs seized by FACT in cooperation with HM Customs & Excise.
From January to March this year a total of 174,000 imported pirate DVDs were confiscated; a substantial 50 per cent reduction on last year’s figures. The majority of discs seized continue to originate from Asia Pacific countries, with Malaysia being the principal source country.
Raymond Leinster, Director General of FACT, commented: “The first quarter figures are significant in several ways. Not only do they support our predictions that levels of DVD piracy are continuing to grow in the UK, but they also confirm the lucrative nature of the pirate film market.
“UK-based crime groups with multiple criminal interests have adopted the manufacture and distribution of DVDs as a mainstream activity, establishing extensive copying facilities to sustain their enterprises. And with organised criminals at the root of much counterfeit activity, it is imperative to understand how their networks operate and how they fund themselves. Our aim is to increase the numbers of prosecutions of principal figures and networks associated with the importation, manufacture and distribution of illicit film product.”
In order to tackle the escalating levels of piracy, FACT has embarked upon a significant programme of structural and organisational change that will allow it to embrace an intelligence-led, analytical-based approach to investigation and communication.
(GB)
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