Japanese police raid movie piracy operations

MUMBAI: On 16 January, officers from Aichi Prefectural Police Headquarters and Konan Police Station, accompanied by Motion Picture Association (MPA) representatives, raided a video rental shop and DVD-R burning lab in Obu City, a suburb of Nagoya.

The operation was suspected of having specialized in sales to the large Brazilian community who live in Japan, and to have distributed to wholesalers nationwide. The raiding party arrested three Brazilian men, two aged 33 and one aged 18, and seized 60 DVD-R burners, along with 86,874 pirated DVD-Rs, infringing Japanese, Brazilian and MPA member company titles including Zathura and X-Men: The Last Stand.

Immediately following the raid, investigators from the Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association (JIMCA), which represents the MPA in Japan, confirmed that the seized discs were pirated goods, and the men were charged with possession of pirated goods for the purpose of distribution. It is believed that the burner lab had been in operation for around a year and a half.

The seized burners are estimated to have been capable of producing as many as two million DVD-Rs in one year, yielding revenues of JPY600 million (US $4,941,000) assuming the burners were in operation ten-hours-a-day, seven-days-per-week.

“The seizure of 60 optical disc burners makes clear that local production of pirated optical discs in low-cost, scalable burner labs has become a leading source of piracy. This raid in Aichi underscores the determination of Japanese police agencies to crack down on illegal movie piracy and represents a significant achievement in the battle against copyright theft that so badly damages creative industries and the people who rely on those industries for their livelihoods,” said Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.

Piracy in Asia
A study aimed at producing a more accurate picture of the impact that piracy has on the film industry including, for the first time, losses due to internet piracy, recently calculated that the MPA studios lost $6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005. About $2.4 billion was lost to bootlegging, $1.4 billion to illegal copying and $2.3 billion to Internet piracy. Of the $6.1 billion in lost revenue to the studios, approximate $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region, while piracy in the US accounted for $1.3 billion.

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