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Malaysian disc counterfeiters arrested

Malaysian authorities have crippled two DVD and video CD piracy rings, arresting 30 people and seizing nine duplicating machines worth 36m ringgit (£5.4m), a local newspaper reported this week.

The Star said it was the biggest seizure this year in Malaysia's fight against illegal copying of Hollywood, Hong Kong and local movies, a thriving trade that has placed the country on a US watch list of serious copyright violating nations.

The seizures and arrests were made in two raids on factories in the capital Kuala Lumpur yesterday, carried out with the help of the Motion Picture Association of America, the lobbying group that represents the interests of all the major Hollywood studios.

In the first raid, a 13-member team of officers from the Intellectual Property Protection Unit scaled a two-metre wall and broke open the door of the factory, catching red-handed workers trying to destroy thousands of DVDs in a shredding machine, the Star said. Nineteen workers were arrested and five machines sized. Another 11 people were arrested in the second raid from where four copying machines were seized.

Despite extensive government crackdowns, Malaysia has a flourishing pirate VCD industry. Pirated movies are sold locally as well as shipped to other countries in the region. Bootleg movies are sold openly in shopping complexes and by street vendors for as little as 10 ringgit (£1.5) each.

Story filed 22.01.06

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