MPA makes 117 piracy arrests in India


MUMBAI: A total of 117 arrests have been made in India over three months under the Motion Picture Association’s (MPA) Asia-Pacific wide anti-piracy enforcement activity called Operation Blackout.

Operation Blackout ran from November 2007 – January 2008, resulted in the arrest of 675 suspected pirates, seizures of more than 2.6 million pirated optical discs and 1,200 optical disc burners, capable of producing hundreds of pirated movies a year and potentially millions in illicit revenue in the Asia Pacific region.

In all, 894 raids were undertaken by enforcement authorities in 12 countries across the Asia-Pacific during Operation Blackout. The raids were aimed at targeting the producers, distributors and sellers of pirated movies within the region, and particularly on the Internet.

Operation Blackout also again targeted the illegal camcording of movies in cinemas. Following up on earlier distribution, the MPA distributed hundreds more copies of its “Make A Difference” package to theatre employees around the region to increase their awareness of laws designed to prevent camcording of movies in cinemas.

Among the highlights of Operation Blackout were:

Australia: 426 burners seized; 661,411 pirated optical discs seized

China: 211 raids conducted; 676,384 pirated optical discs seized

India: 117 people arrested

Hong Kong: 189 burners seized

Malaysia: 423 burners seized; 110 people arrested

Philippines: 541,800 pirated optical discs seized

Taiwan: 114 raids conducted; 173 burners seized

Thailand: 241 raids conducted; 243 people arrested< Page Break >

“I am pleased to report that our tough actions throughout the year and our new focus on the Internet as an increasingly popular channel for piracy has had an impact. Pirates have been under pressure due to several of our region-wide operations. What we are seeing now in some countries is more covert pirate activity – many have moved underground or have found ways and means to cover their tracks,” said Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.

“Our aggressive efforts have also made the pirates shift from factory operations to burner labs. A total of 1,289 DVD-R burners were seized in this latest operation as compared to 450 in the previous operation carried out between May to June 2007. That is almost a 300 per cent increase, and we see this trend growing in countries like Australia, Malaysia and Taiwan. We are confident that we will stay one step ahead and do what it takes to smoke them out in the coming year, given the strong commitment to intellectual property rights protection by law enforcement agencies and governments around the region,” he added.

In the past four years, the regional wide anti piracy operations conducted by the MPA biannually have resulted in over 5,000 arrests and 32 million pirated optical discs seized. Operation Blackout operations were conducted in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.