Pirate movie operation raided three times in four months

Pirated DVDs of Underbelly Episodes 1-9 discovered

Victorian Police, assisted by investigators from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), today raided a commercial premises in Sunshine North, in Melbourne’s western suburbs, and shut down a movie piracy operation seizing 70 burners capable of producing 1.7 million DVDs with a street value of over $7 million a year.

Along with the recently purchased 70 DVD-R burners, police seized over 7,000 pirated DVD movies and television shows, eight brand new printers and computer equipment.

The seized pirated DVDs included copies of There Will Be Blood and Jumper, which are currently showing in Australian cinemas and not yet legitimately available on DVD. The haul also included copies of episodes 1-9 of the Australian television show Underbelly, which is not yet legitimately available on DVD. Underbelly is banned from being screened in Victoria following a decision by the Victorian Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, police raided a residential home in St Albans. Both raids followed extensive surveillance undertaken by AFACT investigators.

A 41-year-old man is assisting police with their enquiries.

The 41-year-old man is alleged to have been behind Australia’s biggest ever seizures of pirated movie DVDs. On 22 January, Victorian Police, assisted by the Australian Federal Police and AFACT investigators, raided the man’s St Albans residence and seized over 250,000 pirated DVDs and 100 DVD burners. That same day, two further search warrants were executed on two residential premises in St Albans where over 150,000 pirated DVDs and 70 DVD burners were seized.

Victorian Police had previously raided the same St Albans residential premises on 20 November, 2007, where over 200,000 pirated DVDs and 88 DVD burners had been seized and a woman was subsequently charged with copyright offences.

‘This is a determined organized criminal syndicate, who have clearly placed illegal profits above a respect for the law and those who enforce it,’ said Neil Gane, Director of Operations at AFACT. ‘Within weeks of being raided by police, this criminal organization had identified and relocated to new premises and continued their large scale movie piracy operation. Movie pirates don’t care who they hurt in their pursuit of illegal gains. We commend the ongoing efforts of the Victorian Police forces.’

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

Members of the public can report movie piracy to AFACT’s own anti-piracy hotline: 1800 251 996


AFACT works closely with industry, government, police and educational institutions to address copyright theft and protect the interests of the film and television industry as well as the interests of Australian movie fans.

In 2007, AFACT assisted state and federal police on 70 enforcement actions involving movie piracy which resulted in the seizure of over 585,000 pirated DVDs and 459 burners capable of producing over eleven million pirated DVDs a year with a potential street value of over $57 million.

AFACT acts on behalf of the 50,000 Australians directly impacted by copyright theft including independent cinemas, video rental stores and film and television producers across the country. AFACT has its own anti-piracy hotline: 1800 251 996.

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