Biggest movie pirate op in Australia busted

MUMBAI: Three homes raided in Melbourne‘s western suburbs; 170 burners and over 400,000 pirated DVDs seized Australia/Hong Kong – Victoria Police, assisted by the Australian Federal Police and investigators from Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) shut down the largest known pirate operation in Australia today.


Over 250,000 pirated DVDs and 100 DVD-R burners were seized. A 49-year-old male is currently assisting police with their investigations. Among the seizure were latest AFACT member company titles including American Gangster, I am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks, which have just been released in Australian cinemas and not yet legitimately available on DVD.


Information attained at the scene by police resulted in further search warrants being executed within hours after the first raid at two residential premises in St Albans in Melbourne‘s western suburbs, where 70 DVD-R burners and an estimated 150,000 pirated DVDs were seized at one of the addresses. These premises were raided by the Victoria Police and AFACT investigators on 20 November last year, when another large illegal DVD burning operation was uncovered and close to 200,000 pirated DVDs were seized.


The two burner labs, running 170 burners 10 hours per day, seven days per week, were capable of producing over 4 million DVDs a year with an estimated street value of over A$12 million.


“This case marks the start of AFACT’s major crackdown on burner labs. The size of this illegal operation provides a clear example of the economic damage movie pirate syndicates wreak on legitimate Australian businesses producing and distributing movies and TV shows. Movie pirates don’t care whose interests they damage in their search for illegal gains,” said AFACT Director of Operations Neil Gane.


“The Australian authorities have done it again. Their aggressive enforcement efforts send a clear message that piracy will not be tolerated. We congratulate them on another successful raid and look forward to working with them on the next one,” said Asia-Pacific for the Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director Mike Ellis.