AFACT tip nets 400,000 pirated DVDs


SYDNEY -- "American Gangster," "I Am Legend" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks" were among the pirated titles seized in raids last week on Australia and New Zealand's largest known film piracy operations.

Police in the Australian state of Victoria, working off a tip from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, seized more than 400,000 pirated DVDs and 170 DVD-R burners in two separate raids Tuesday, including one on a residence that had been raided in November.

AFACT said it was alerted to the movie-burning labs after public complaints about frequent suspicious activity occurring at one of the residences raided.

The anti-piracy agency estimates that the two labs could produce up to 4 million DVDs per year, with an estimated street value of $10.4 million. The raids mark the start of a major crackdown on the labs by AFACT.

Mike Ellis, regional director of Asia Pacific at the MPA, said that AFACT and the Victorian police's "aggressive enforcement efforts send a clear message that piracy will not be tolerated."

The Australian raids come just one week after New Zealand police made several arrests in the wake of the largest-ever seizure of illegal DVDs at a cyber cafe and video rental business in Auckland.

During that raid, police arrested the proprietor and seized 59 VCR and 25 DVD players and more than 30,000 pirated DVDs of various movies, including copies of the Bollywood blockbuster "Saawariya."