Movie pirate in Australia sentenced to six months jail

MUMBAI: On 26 March, at Burwood Local Court, 36 year-old Song Xie, of Lakemba in Sydney’s south west, was convicted of 41 copyright offenses and three counts of possession of child pornography offenses and sentenced to a six -month jail term to start immediately.

Xie’s conviction follows an anti piracy operation conducted last May, where New South Wales (NSW) Police, assisted by investigators from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) representing the Motion Picture Association in Australia, raided stalls in Anglo Mall Markets in Campsie, and seized a total of 2,000 pirated movie DVDs and child pornography. Police raided Xie’s residence in Lakemba where they seized further discs containing child pornography, as well as 1,700 pirated movie DVDs, DVD-R burners and ancillary computer equipment used to manufacture pirated DVDs.

AFACT director of operations Neil Gane said, “Movie piracy and other forms of intellectual property theft are serious crimes that damage the Australian economy. Today’s conviction for despicable child pornography crimes confirms a trend linking movie piracy to other crimes; criminals who are stealing movies will also stoop to a wide range of other serious crimes to make a buck. These crimes have no place in our communities and I urge the public to report all such activities to AFACT or the authorities.”

"This is a clear warning to those in Australia seeking profits by stealing the creative works of others, that this crime does not pay. This level of sentencing needs to continue as it will serve to deter piracy and other insidious crimes that are associated with it," said Motion Picture Association president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.

In 2008, state and federal police conducted 51 raids involving movie piracy and seized over 544,000 pirated DVDs. They also seized 488 burners capable of producing 12 million pirated DVDs a year with a potential street value of over $42.8 million. A number of these enforcement actions provided further evidence that movie piracy is linked to other criminal activity affecting local communities. Maximum penalties for copyright crimes are $57,655 and/or up to five years jail per offense.