NSW Police uncover pirate burner lab in Sydney raid

Copyright infringement fines up to $60,500 and five years imprisonment

In a joint raid yesterday Bankstown Police and Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) investigators conducted a raid seizing in excess of 1,000 pirated DVDs, multiple DVD-R burners, a computer and printing equipment.

The pirated booty was uncovered at the residence of a 56 year old woman in Sydney's west.

An employee at a Riverwood supermarket, the woman was allegedly selling pirated DVDs to colleagues and members of the public frequenting the supermarket, as well as selling them over the Internet.

The raid followed information received from members of the public.

Hollywood film 'The Bourne Ultimatum' which only opened in cinemas throughout Australia today was one of the many new release titles being manufactured and offered for sale.

AFACT executive director, Adrianne Pecotic, said movie piracy hurts local businesses.

"Illegal DVDs sold out of a car, on the Internet, at work or at the local market all directly affect legitimate businesses like the local suburban video store operator who provides employment and income to their community," Pecotic said.

"As long as people continue to steal the property of our film industry and livelihood of our local businesses, we will pursue them."

Maximum penalties for copyright infringement are up to $60,500 in fines and five years imprisonment per offence.

Charges are expected to be filed against the woman next week.

In the past week NSW Police also raided a DVD retail premises in Sydney's western suburbs seizing over 3000 pirated DVDs.

A male and female were both charged with copyright offences.

A recent independent report conducted by L.E.K. Consulting found that movie piracy cost the Australian film industry an estimated $233 million in potential revenue in 2005.

The illegal distribution of unauthorised copies of movies rose from 4 percent in 2000 to around 10 percent of the legitimate market in 2004.

Police across Australia have more than doubled the number of illegal discs seized in 2004 compared to 2003.

Discs comprise mostly DVD-R copies as DVD-R technology has increased its share of the pirate optical disc market.

In addition Australian Customs seized over 40,000 pirate DVDs imported into Australia in 2004, a 185 percent increase compared to the 14,000 seized by Customs in 2003.

Police claim there is a link between organised crime and film piracy.

A spokesperson said organised crime links to movie piracy in Australia were first uncovered following a raid on Malaysia-linked movie pirates in 2002.

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