Piracy raids net DVDs ready for distribution

Operation had potential street value of over A$4.5 million

Victorian Police conducted a piracy raid on a shop in Melbourne yesterday seizing over 100,000 DVDs, 51 burners, 14 folders of jacket covers and prepackaged fake copies of movies ready for distribution.

The Hoai Thu video store is alleged to have been the distribution point for thousands of pirated DVDs shipped interstate. An extensive catalogue of pornography was also found.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) executive director, Adrianne Pecotic, said this is the biggest DVD burning lab to have been exposed in Australia this year.

"Those 51 DVD burners running ten hours per day have the capacity to manufacture over 24,990 illegal DVDs a week with a street value of over A$4.5 million a year," he said.

"The knock on effect of rampant piracy on local legitimate businesses like cinemas and DVD stores is tremendously damaging, and must be stamped out. We commend the Victorian Police for their actions in this case."

Maximum penalties for copyright infringement are up to $60,500 and five years imprisonment per offence.

In a separate incident, Victorian Police and AFACT investigators raided another shop and netted over 600 pirated DVDs.

Pecotic said piracy results in losses of more than $230 million in potential revenue to the industry, and threatens over 50,000 jobs.

- with Sandra Rossi

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