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'Fake-free zone' for 2012 London Olympics

The Motion Pictures Association (MPA) and several major anti-piracy groups have announced that by the time the 2012 Olympics begin, they will have made London “a fake-free zone” pledged Intellectual Property Minister, David Lammy at the launch of this initiative.

The Motion Picture Association, UK Film Council, UK Intellectual Property Office, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the London Councils, Trading Standards and the Police are teaming up to eliminate DVD piracy in London before the 2012 Olympics.

Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy endorsed the launch of the ambitious ‘Fake Free London’ project, noting that the police will be required to enforce already-existing laws: “Legislation alone will not combat counterfeiting and piracy. Good law is great but enforced law is better.” He said the aim of the campaign was send a message that people are serious about tackling the problem, and that consumers and legitimate businesses would be better off as a result.

The punishment for commercial piracy in the UK starts with a simple caution and goes up 10 years in jail and an unlimited fine, so it seems the tools to deal with the problem are already there, but observers ask if there is the will to start locking more people up.

As the Fake-Free Zone” initiative was launched, a large quantity of counterfeit DVDs with an estimated value of over £200,000 have been recovered during an operation in Glasgow. Six men and two women were arrested and detained in police custody in connection with the recovery. “This seizure forms part of Operation League which is a national operation headed by Strathclyde Police targeting serious and organised crime groups involved in this type of activity and other areas of criminality,” says a police spokesperson.

FACT estimates that 50 million bootleg DVDs were manufactured in the UK last year, costing the domestic film and TV industry an estimated £500 million. Illegal film downloads cost the industry an additional £53, FACT reckons.

Story filed 09.12.08

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