Victorian Police, supported by investigators from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), raided Hoai Thu Video Shop in Footscray yesterday. Over 100,000 DVDs were seized, along with 51 DVD burners, 14 folders of DVD jacket covers, and an extensive catalogue of pornography.
The video store is alleged to have been a distribution point for thousands of pirated DVDs shipped interstate. Police uncovered spools of discs and prepackaged fake copies of DVDs in back rooms standing by for distribution.
Adrianne Pecotic, Executive Director of AFACT, 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. 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.’
The store was selling hundreds of movie titles including Pirates of the Caribbean At Word’s End, Transformers, Bridge to Terabithia, The Simpsons Movie and Rush Hour 3, which is currently showing at cinemas around Australia and not legally available on DVD.
A woman in her forties is assisting police with their enquiries. Maximum penalties for copyright infringement are up to $60,500 and five years imprisonment per offence.
Earlier yesterday in a separate incident, Victorian Police and AFACT investigators raided a milk bar in West Footscray and netted over 600 pirated DVDs including copies of Hairspray and The Simpsons Movie. Police have interviewed a twenty-year-old man at the store and are pursuing their enquiries.
This month, movie lovers will be introduced to a new anti-piracy campaign that asks the question ‘What are you really burning?’ if you buy a pirate movie. The campaign invites Australians to consider the negative consequences of film and television piracy that results in losses of over $230 million in potential revenue to the industry, and threatens over 50,000 jobs.
Members of the public can help police identify and shut down film piracy operations by ringing Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or going to www.moviepiracy.org.au. A consumer guide to help members of the public identify whether or not a DVD is pirated is available to view and download from http://www.afact.com.au/