Pirated Saawariya DVDs seized in New Zealand

MUMBAI: New Zealand Police supported by investigators from the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT) executed a search warrant on a cyber café and video rental business in Auckland, making New Zealand‘s biggest ever illegal movie lab arrest and seizure.


Over 30,000 pirated DVDs of various movies were also seized, including copies of Sony Pictures and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest release Saawariya.


During the raid the police arrested the 45-year-old proprietor and seized 59 VCR and 25 DVD players, all being used to reproduce pirated copies when police entered the premises.


The investigation was prompted by routine monitoring of video retail and rental outlets by NZFACT investigators, who located copies of Saawariya on sale as early as November 2007, five months ahead of the scheduled March 2008 release of legitimate copies of the movie on DVD in New Zealand.


A three month joint investigation involving the Police, Department of Internal Affairs, the Film and Video Labeling Body and NZFACT identified the lab and led to the successful raid.


“This case marks the start of NZFACT’s 2008 major operations. It doesn’t matter if a movie is from Hollywood, Bollywood or produced here in New Zealand – NZFACT will protect it from pirates,” said NZFACT executive director Tony Eaton.


The man arrested by the police has been charged with offences of copying and the charge of selling infringing objects under the Copyright Act. He will make his first appearance in court on 21 January.