Taiwan police raid hard goods movie website, burner lab

Mumbai: Acting on information provided by the Taiwan Foundation Against Copyright Theft (TFACT), representing the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in Taiwan, Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB Police) shut down the pirated Internet hard goods website Buyxbox.

Extensive investigations revealed that while the group operating the main website was located in Tainan City, it had a number of associated websites and the pirated movies sold were produced in Taipei City.

25 CIB Police raided five locations linked to the website and the burner lab itself, seizing 171 DVD-R burners, arresting two men and two women for infringing Taiwan’s Copyright Law and all face up to five years imprisonment.

The police also seized 14,000 blank discs and more than 40,000 pirated discs, among them 60 titles belonging to MPA member companies’ were infringed including The Last Mimzy, Transformers and Underdog. The pirate DVD-R lab raided was operated by a group that offers pirated movies for sale through flyers to its associated partners and street vendors across Taiwan.

Buyxbox was linked to a number of other websites in a pyramid-type piracy operation. Under the operation, members were provided with linked websites by buyxbox, all linked back to buyxbox. A member received percentages of any payments received by buyxbox from sales made via that member’s linked website. The decentralized system it operated involved more than 50 members and approximately 1,000 linked websites at the time of the raids.

Had the operation remained in business for one year, it could have produced more than nine million pirated discs, potentially generating criminal revenues of more than US$30 million.

"This was an extremely well organized pirate operation with tentacles
reaching far and wide," said MPA president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis. "We are particularly pleased that this raid occurred in Taiwan so soon after we launched our region-wide Operation Takedown, and thank the CIB for their tremendous cooperation in this effort."

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 2007 alone, more than 1,076 optical disc burners were seized in TFACT/MPA operations in Taiwan.

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