Blackout raids snare 650 DVD pirates


NEW DELHI -- More than 650 suspected pirates were arrested and more than 2.6 million pirated discs seized during Operation Blackout, an Asia-Pacific wide anti-piracy enforcement that ran from November to January, the Motion Picture Assn. said Wednesday.

Almost 900 raids were conducted in 12 countries including India, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, which led to the seizure of 1,200 optical disc burners, with the highest number -- 426 -- coming from Australia. The largest seizure of illicit discs was in China at 676,384, followed by Australia at 661,411.

"What we are seeing now in some countries is more covert pirate activity -- many have moved underground or have found ways and means to cover their tracks," MPA senior vp and regional director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis said. "We are confident that we will stay one step ahead and do what it takes to smoke them out in the coming year."

In the past four years, the region-wide antipiracy operations conducted by the MPA biannually have resulted in more than 5,000 arrests and the seizure of 32 million pirated optical discs.