09.02.09 Three strikes against CD pirate traders in Australia
MELBOURNE – Victoria Police last week closed down a significant piracy operation on the outskirts of Melbourne – one of three important successes recently achieved in the fight against music disc piracy in Australia.
Working in conjunction with anti-piracy groups Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), police seized more than 15 000 discs containing pirate music and movies together with four computer hard drives containing infringing content. The computers were being used to preload portable hard drives with illegal music and movies which were then sold to the public. Eight disc burners used to produce pirate music and movie discs were also seized by police.
In addition, police and industry investigators found market traders selling thousands of burnt discs to the public including the latest releases from artists like Michael Jackson, Abba and the Bee Gees.
Three individuals are assisting police with their enquiries in relation to Sunday's anti-piracy operation.
Dean Mitchell, Investigations Manager of MIPI, said: "Industry groups have repeatedly demonstrated that they are prepared to work with market operators. However, today's police raid confirms that criminal action will be taken if market traders continue to sell infringing discs."
The actions follow a week during which two high-profile Australian piracy court cases came to a conclusion, with strong deterrent sentences handed down against pirate CD traders.
Earlier in the week, a man was in court charged with selling pirate CD compilations, which were professionally packaged and sold via unsuspecting legitimate stores. Judge Charteris said it was appropriate that the law was changed two years ago to treat piracy more seriously allowing the charges to be heard in superior courts. "Based on the bigger picture it's robbing the creators of the work of their livelihood, their efforts, their work is unrewarded" he explained. He went on to warn the community that "The message has to get out, that you can't rob artists of their work."
In an unrelated physical piracy matter the previous week, the first to ever be heard in a superior court in Australia, Judge Knox sent an individual to jail for six months for his role in importing and selling infringing discs made in China to unsuspecting consumers.
The man in question owned and operated an Eastwood music and movie store raided by New South Wales Police in February 2007. The raid followed an extensive investigation by investigators from MIPI and AFACT.
The police raid netted more than 16 000 pirated movie and music discs being openly offered for sale to the public. The haul included discs imported into Australia from illegal manufacturing plants in China as well as illegally burnt discs produced locally.
Before handing down the sentence Judge Knox commented: "I do not think that a fine or a community service order is appropriate in terms of being a deterrent sentence… the proper penalty… is one of a period of imprisonment."