Taiwan police bust DVD-R burner lab

MUMBAI: On September 18, Taiwan’s IPR Police, in collaboration with the Taiwan Foundation Against Copyrights Theft (TFACT), representing the Motion Picture Association (MPA), raided a pirated DVD rental shop in Kaoshiung City.

This action took down the largest known burner operation in the city, Taiwan’s second biggest city after Taipei. Police arrested two men and two women on suspicion of infringing Taiwan’s Copyright Law. If found guilty, they face sentences of up to seven years imprisonment.

A total of 46 DVD-R burners were found in the shop premises. Police also seized 4,001 pirated optical discs infringing 220 MPA member company titles such as Evan Almighty, Rush Hour 3 and Transformers.

The shop is suspected of distributing significant numbers of pirated discs to a citywide network of pirate street vendors. The seized burners are capable of producing as many as 2,484,000 DVD-Rs in one year, yielding revenues of $10,393,618 assuming the burners were in operation 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In taking out this illegal burner operation, the Taiwan police have raised the cost of doing business for these criminals. They have also prevented millions of pirated DVD-Rs from hitting the streets, saving the livelihoods of people who work in movie industry. In Taiwan, it is frequently the case that pirated movies are individually burned onto optical discs with CD-R or DVD-R burners. Burner labs can contain dozens of burners, capable of producing millions of pirate CD-Rs or DVD-Rs per year. In 2005 and 2006, about 2,500 optical disc burners were seized in TFACT/MPA operations in Taiwan. Up to August 2007, the number is 718, which shows that burner lab piracy has not significantly reduced with the rise of Internet piracy,” said MPA senior vice president and regional director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.

TFACT executive director Spencer Yang praised the IPR Police saying, “The raid came during the night that Taiwan was lashed by Typhoon Wipha. This reflects the resolution of the police and underscores the effectiveness of their cooperation with TFACT in the battle against the pirates.”