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Pirated DVDs Worth More Than Drugs
July 12, 2004
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A new anti-piracy campaign has been launched in the UK to stop a predicted industry loss of £1 billion ($1.9 billion) materialising by 2007.

The £1.5 million ($2.8 million) “Piracy is a Crime” campaign is being sponsored by a group of film makers, along with Wal-Mart ASDA and HMV. The new group is called the “Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness,” or the fractionally simpler, ITIPA.

The ITIPA have published a report, including figures from Interpol, to justify the new campaign.

“We want to shatter the illusion of DVD pirates as harmless ‘Del Boy’ characters,” said a spokesman for the ITIPA. “Compared to other forms of crime, DVD piracy offers criminals high returns and relatively low risks in terms of penalties. It is an attractive option for organised crime groups, who use the trade in DVD piracy to launder cash and fund other forms of crime.”

The ITIPA report that for every Euro invested in pirating DVDs, a return of 10 Euros can be made. Also, a kilogram of pirated DVDs is worth more than a kilogram of cannabis resin.

Interpol believe that terrorist, people traffickers and even paramilitaries are among the groups fighting for a share of the £500 million ($933 million) industry. The pirate disc industry is due to reach £1 billion over the next three years.

The view of terrorist involvement is not universally supported, not even by copyright supporters, such as The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). FACT director general Raymond Leinster admitted terrorist involvement was not rife in mainland Britain. He is quoted by BBC News as saying, "I do accept it's maybe more regionalised and it's not a problem widespread throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.”

However, he is quick to add that many other unsavoury characters and organised crime gangs are involved.

"By purchasing pirated DVDs, many consumers are unwittingly helping to fund hardcore criminals with links to people trafficking, drugs, guns and money laundering," he said.

FACT claim that 30% of videos purchased in the UK are unauthorised.

“The link between organised crime groups and counterfeit goods is well established but Interpol is sounding the alarm that intellectual property crime is becoming the preferred method of funding for a number of terrorist groups,” said Ronald Noble, secretary general of Interpol. “There are enough examples now of the funding of terrorist groups in this way for us to worry about the threat to public safety. We must take preventative measures now.”

The ITIPA hope a new trailer and poster campaign will warn off potential customers by educating them to these dangers. Amusingly, the group are using images such gunman to capitalise on a perceived public fear of terrorism. If that is an indication of the amount spent on marketing, then it begs the question of how the other £1,499,990 is to be spent.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Unauthorized Distribution :: Physical Piracy

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