Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another DVD Piracy Ring Busted

Another counterfeit DVD shop was busted in Canada. In Mississauga, ON, just 30 minutes west of Toronto, Ontario police seized more than 75,000 illegal copies of recent hit movies, including Michael Moore’s Sicko, and The Simpsons Movie. Reports indicate that this operation, which was filmed by CBC News hidden camera, managed to create and sell copies of The Simpsons Movie a mere 14 hours after it hit theatres! As for profit, although undoubtedly healthy for those involved, this wasn’t at the expense of a consumer’s deep pockets: the discs sold for just $4 a piece!

In February of this year, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) pegged Canada as a leading manufacturer and exporter of bootlegged movies such as those just seized, and illegal devices that facilitate pirated activity, like “modification chips” used to allow counterfeit games to be played on videogame consoles. In fact, the IIPA said that the issue of unauthorized camcording in Canada (where someone secretly films a movie in the theatre, then creates copied discs of said recording) is nearing “crisis” levels: in 2006, 20-25 per cent of pirated DVDs discovered were sourced back to Canada!

According to CBC News, the recently squashed Mississauga, ON operation had produced likely close to $21 million worth of blockbuster movies. What’s baffling is that many of the store’s “regular” customers had no problem providing their names and phone numbers for the company files; and some even stopped by as the accused were being arrested, and asked when the store would re-open! Canadians either don’t understand that counterfeit DVDs are illegal; or they simply don’t care.

It will be interesting to hear what the IIPA and the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN) have to say about this: in May 2007, the CACN set out an action plan for the government to address problems relating to counterfeiting and piracy. This incident is sure to add fuel to its fire.


Anonymous said...

In every industry you're going to get leakage to some degree it happens they can try and slow it down but I doubt they'll be able to stop it completely.
The (Motion Picture) industry ought to look at the core of the problem, $15 for one and a half hour movie is steap, it's deja vu again can anyone say "CD sales pummuling because of Napster" I usually wait the customary 3-4 months and buy it on DVD and have a hard copy in the process to pass around to anybody who wants to see it.

Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

Hi anonymous,

I agree. As content becomes more easily accessible in digital format, through means like the Internet, the producers of this content have to adjust their business strategies accordingly. It's not an easy thing to do, and we are in a state of transition at the moment. But a happy medium between being compensated for your work, and providing customers value for their money, will be reached eventually. And you are right - even when that happens, leakage will continue to prevail. All we can hope for is that it's reduced to a point where it isn't so damaging.

Thank you for your comments.

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