MPA applauds Japan pirate DVD bust


TOKYO -- The MPA has applauded the second-largest seizure of illegal DVD-R burners in Japan, but warned that the arrest of three men and the closing down of the operation is merely a "setback" to the pirates.

Three Brazilian men were arrested in the raid on a video rental store in a suburb of Nagoya, in central Japan, with police seizing 60 DVD-R burners and nearly 87,000 pirated discs. Thousands of the discs, which included titles such as "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Zathura," were produced by MPA member companies.

"For Japan, this is a massive amount of burners, and we understand that the operation had been under way for about 18 months," Roberto De Vido of the Japan office of the MPA said. "To the pirates, however, this is only a setback. Five years ago it would have cost them $1 million to replace the copying machines; now they can turn out 2 million a year and the cost of a new burner is very low.

"It's a more lucrative business than drug dealing, and the price they pay in judicial penalties is also much lower," he said.

De Vido warned that Japan has witnessed a shift in its piracy situation in the past year, with an increasing amount of high-quality copies imported from China and packaged very well.