Australia’s largest burner lab busted


MUMBAI: On 20 November, Victorian Police, assisted by investigators from Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), raided two homes in St Auburn in Melbourne’s western suburbs, seizing over 200,000 pirated DVDs and an 88-DVD burner operation.

The burner lab, with the potential of running 10 hours per day, seven days per week, was capable of producing over 2.2 million DVDs a year with an estimated street value of over A$16.6million.

Police raided two homes after complaints from the public alerted them to frequent suspicious activity occurring at the premises. One home, allegedly owned by a 40-year-old woman, was fitted out with 88 DVD-R burners. Another rented premises, adjacent to the home, was allegedly used as a warehouse and distribution point for the pirated DVD movies.

The haul included over 10,000 AFACT member company movies including the titles Lions For Lambs and Hairspray, which are currently showing in Australian cinemas, and are not yet legitimately available on DVD.

AFACT, Executive Director, Adrianne Pecotic said, “This is a huge burning operation designed purely for the criminal purpose of making large financial gain at the expense of honest Australian businesses. Piracy puts at risk over 50,000 jobs, and undermines the future of our local film and television industry.”

A 40-year-old woman has been arrested and charged.

In the last five weeks police have seized a total of 300,600 pirated movies with an estimated street value of over A$21.5 million.

Motion Picture Association, Senior Vice President and Regional Director, Asia-Pacific, Mike Ellis added, “Pirates have no qualms about where they operate. They will bring their illegal operations to your neighborhood unless you put a stop to it. Yesterday’s successful raid should serve as a further warning to pirates that the Australian authorities will continue to track them down and take them out.”

In October the film and television industry launched a major national anti-piracy campaign aimed at helping Australian movie-lovers understand that piracy is not a victimless crime. The “What Are You Really Burning?” campaign asks Australians to consider that piracy has proven consequences that damage the film industry, threatening Australian jobs, filmmakers, cinemas, DVD stores and investment in future films.