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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGED TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST DVD PIRACY

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DVD piracy and its connection to a wide variety of criminal activities will be brought under the microscope at the ...
DVD piracy and its connection to a wide variety of criminal activities will be brought under the microscope at the Local Government Association annual conference next month.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft will be exhibiting throughout the event at Harrogate International Centre, between 5 and 8 July.

As film piracy escalates to new levels, FACT is keen to illustrate DVD piracy's adverse effect on local communities to key policymakers and local government officials who will be attending the conference.

FACT director-general Raymond Leinster said: 'We are keen to engage further with policymakers and resource managers to discuss how to make local communities a safer place. It is a common misconception that DVD piracy is a victimless crime, yet in our investigations we uncover a wealth of evidence that demonstrates that DVD pirates are involved in a multitude of other illegal activites with threaten community safety.

'By exhibiting at this year's conference and exhibition we aim to develop appreciation among government officials that DVD piracy can cause serious problems in their community, such as drugs, benefit fraud, the exploitation of young persons, the sale of obscene material and the human suffering of people forced to work for gang-masters like the Snakeheads.

'DVD pirates are often astute, organised and well-financed criminals and therefore binging industry, government and enforcers together, is essential if we are to create a coordinated approach to tackling this crime type.'

The number of pirate discs seized by FACT in the first quarter of this year totals 680,000 - a 41 per cent increase on last year's total for the same period. The number of DVDs seized was close to the three million mark, with seizure figures up by 47 per cent on 2003. This makes Britain the world's black market film capital, after the US.

The volume of UK seizure statistics reflect the relatively risk free, and lucrative nature of DVD piracy. Criminal gangs are well aware of the high returns and low risks that generate easy cash that can be ploughed back into other forms of crime.

Mr Leinster added: 'By fighting DVD crime, it's possible to tackle other forms of serious criminality and engage in significant crime reduction. It is important that this message is heard as widely as possible.'

Notes

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is a trade body established in 1983 to protect the film industry against copyright and trademark infringements in the United Kingdom.

Although not a statutory authority or public body, FACT operates as a private company within the spirit of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and the Data Protection Act 1984 and 1998.

FACT's investigative staff conducts inquiries throughout the UK and assist statutory enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute the illicit import, manufacture and distribution of film product. FACT has been accepted as a prosecution authority in its own right.

Lastyear, 2,913,459 pirate DVDs were seized, bringing the total for 2004 close to the three million mark.

This year's figures show a 41 per cent increase in seizures for the first quarter versus the same period in 2004. The 2004 figure represents a 207 per cent increase on the first half of 2003, and a rise of 1,768 per cent on the same period in 2002.

Additional information on FACT can be found at www.fact-uk.org.uk

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