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Confiscated DVD players donated to children's hospital

The Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, received 23 DVD players, used to make pirated copies of movies, from the head of Asia-Pacific for the Motion Picture Association.

The DVD players were forfeited by order of the court following the conviction of 45-year-old Harjit Singh Assi for making and selling infringing movies. In addition to losing the DVD players, the pirate was fined US$10,040 and ordered to serve 250 hours community service.

The charges Assi faced arose from a raid conducted by the New Zealand Police in January this year, a raid resulting from a three-month joint investigation involving the Police, Department of Internal Affairs, the Film and Video Labeling Body and NZFACT.

Along with the DVD players, over 30,000 pirated DVDs of various movies were seized, The raid was the largest ever single seizure of pirated discs in New Zealand, dwarfing the seizure of 18,000 pirated discs in 2006.

A study undertaken by independent research firm LEK Consulting on behalf of the Motion Picture Association showed that piracy cost the film industry in New Zealand an estimated 25% of the potential market in 2005 – $70 million. Internet piracy via P2P file-sharing networks is a significant concern and accounts for the majority of New Zealand movie industry losses – an estimated $33 million in lost consumer spending in 2005.

A comprehensive study aimed at producing a more accurate picture of the impact that piracy has on the film industry including, for the first time, losses due to internet piracy, recently calculated that the MPA studios lost $6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005.

About US$2.4 billion was lost to bootlegging, $1.4 billion to illegal copying and $2.3 billion to Internet piracy. Of the $6.1 billion in lost revenue to the studios, approximate $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region, while piracy in the U.S. accounted for $1.3 billion.

In 2007, the MPA’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region investigated more than 36,200 cases of piracy and assisted law enforcement officials in conducting nearly 13,000 raids. These activities resulted in the seizure of more than 31 million illegal optical discs, 40 factory optical disc production lines and 6,400 optical disc burners, as well as the initiation of more than 10,000 legal actions.

Story filed 10.09.08

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