MPAA, RIAA take efforts to curb piracy

MUMBAI: MPAA and RIAA have kicked-off the holiday shopping season with a multi-state effort to curtail sales of counterfeit CDs and DVDs in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, and New Orleans

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have joined forces this holiday season to urge consumers to “get the real thing” while shopping for the music and movie lovers on their holiday shopping lists.

With the holiday shopping season well underway, the MPAA and RIAA are working together in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans and other cities across the nation to disrupt major distribution chains of counterfeit CDs and DVDs. With the assistance and commitment of local law enforcement, more than 200,000 CDs and DVDs have been seized and 134 people have been arrested so far in sweeps of retail areas notorious for the sale of counterfeit products of all types.

Working with law enforcement around the country, the MPAA and RIAA will continue to focus resources on major pirate product manufacturers responsible for feeding “pre-release” and newly released music and movies into illicit retail markets and will also continue to include aggressive action against the retail markets where the illegal products are sold, including retail shops, flea markets and street vendor displays.

MPAA, Vice President and Director of U.S. Anti-Piracy Operations, Mike Robinson said, “The film industry is one of America’s greatest exports that drives economic growth, provides good jobs, and generates vital revenue for governments and communities at all levels. The holiday season is an exciting time for movie lovers whether they’re seeing the best that the industry has to offer in the theaters or are the recipients of their favorite movies on high quality DVDs. If shoppers come across DVDs of films that are still playing in theaters, they are definitely pirated copies and should be sure to purchase DVDs from legitimate retailers to ensure they are buying genuine high quality copies of the films they love.”

RIAA, Executive Vice President, Anti-Piracy, Brad Buckles added, “Music fans should never be lured into buying illegal music by the deceptive bargain being offered. People selling pirate CDs are not selling music at a cheap price, they are selling plastic at an exorbitant price because they have no investment in the art or artist and the plastic costs them pennies. Even at low prices they profit greatly because they steal the content with no regard for the artists, musicians, technicians and others whose time, energy and passionate devotion brings the music within that plastic to the public. Consumers must remember that the seemingly innocuous street vendor is but the tip of the iceberg. Behind those vendors are often wide criminal enterprises that illicitly manufacture and distribute massive quantities of pirate product and are increasingly involved in other crimes like drug and weapons trafficking. Dollars spent on pirate CDs are dollars that feed this criminal underworld and starve those who create music. At the same time, the illegal trafficking of counterfeit music drives local retailers out of business and deprives cities and states of important tax revenue generated from legitimate purchases. With all the great ways to get high quality, affordable legal music either online or at retail, we hope all fans will pay attention to what they buy and make sure to get the real thing.” < Page Break >

Industry officials offered the following tips to help holiday shoppers avoid illegal goods and get the real thing:
a) Remember the adage “You Get What You Pay For”: Even if you are hoping to get your favorite movies or albums at a discount, new or used, extremely low prices might indicate pirated product.

b) Watch for titles that are “Too New to be True”: Movies that have yet to be released in theatres, or which are still out in theatres, should/will not be available in the DVD format. If very recent titles are being sold on the streets or through an auction or other online retail sites, they are most likely pirated.

c) Watch for compilations that are too good to be true: Many pirates make dream compilation CDs, comprised of songs by numerous artists on different record labels who would not likely appear on the same legitimate album together.

d) Read the label. If the true name and address of the manufacturer is not shown, it is most likely not legitimate product. These products often do not contain a bar code. In addition, if anywhere on the package it reads that the disc is an All- Region, 0-Region, or No Region product, it’s highly likely that the DVD or CD is pirated. Furthermore, if the record label or movie studio listed is a company you’ve never heard of, that should be another warning sign.

e) Look for suspicious packaging: Carefully look over the packaging and beware of products that do not look genuine. Packages with misspelled words, blurry graphics, weak or bad color should all raise red flags. Inferior quality print work on the disc surface or slip sleeve cover, as well as the lack of original artwork and/or missing studio or label, publisher, and distributor logos on discs and packaging, are usually clear indicators that the product is pirated. CDs and DVDs with loose or no shrink wrap or cheaply made insert cards, often without liner notes or multiple folds, are probably not legitimate product.

f) Watch for product being sold in unusual places. CDs and DVDs sold in nontraditional venues, like flea markets or on the street are probably not legitimate.

g) Trust your ear: The sound quality on pirate CDs and DVDs is often poor or inconsistent.

In addition to tips to avoid being duped by counterfeit product, the MPAA and RIAA offer a wide array of legal, hassle-free services where fans can purchase their favorite movies and music at affordable prices.

The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lost $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracy –more than $11 billion of which is attributed to hard goods piracy including bootlegging and illegal copying.
According to a recent report on music piracy, global theft of sound recordings cost the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in lost revenue and more than 71,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages to U.S. workers. In 2006, investigators seized a total of approximately four million counterfeit CDs during numerous raids in small towns and big cities across the country.