Asia anti-piracy raids net 3.3 mil discs


BEIJING -- More than 3.3 million illegally copied discs and 4,181 optical disc burners were seized during the recently completed Operation Tripod, a May-June anti-piracy sweep across Asia, the MPA said Wednesday.

The 1,303 anti-piracy raids, which took place across 12 countries and resulted in 874 arrests, represent an attempt to control the production, distribution and sales of pirated movies in Asia and halt their export, the MPA said in a statement.

In terms of sheer volume of goods confiscated, China led the list of nations targeted, with 1,187,456 pirated optical discs seized, the MPA said. The Philippines was next, with 738,551 discs seized.

Yet, just days after global boxoffice hit "Transfomers" opened in theaters across Asia, pirated copies of the film were found on the streets of Beijing for less than $1 per disc.

MPA estimates show that, of the $6.1 billion in potential studio revenue lost to pirated films in 2005, the Asia-Pacific region ranked as the second-worst offender at $1.2 billion. The U.S. topped the list with a tally of $1.3 billion.

"We plan to continue to conduct aggressive enforcement action throughout the year with our local police, customs and other agency partners, and will initiate another Operation Tripod-style anti-piracy push at the end of the year," Ellis said.

During the Tripod raids in Australia, law enforcement officials seized 2,504 optical disc burners, each capable of producing hundreds of millions of pirated optical discs in a single year, the MPA said.

In India, where 198 raids were conducted from May through June, 263,210 pirated optical discs were seized and 220 people were arrested.

The MPA did not say if any of the arrests associated with Tripod resulted in jail time or fines of any kind.

Malaysia conducted 180 raids in the same period, and authorities seized 246,700 pirated discs and arrested 192 people. Thai authorities conducted 318 raids, seizing 280,632 pirated discs and arresting 225 people.