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A 38-year old woman from Penrith, Cumbria was given a six month jail sentence at Penrith Magistrates Court today.
Helen Louise Sharkey, of Chestnut Close, Penrith had earlier pleaded guilty to 18 charges of breaching trade mark and copyright law, in a case brought by Cumbria Trading Standards.
The court heard that Sharkey was copying films and selling them to order over the internet, initially using eBay to advertise but then also using direct email selling to her existing client base. The matter came to light when FACT’s Internet Investigations Team became aware of Sharkey’s activities and purchased eight counterfeit DVD films in May 2006.
When they received the copied films, FACT reported their findings to Cumbria Trading Standards who, accompanied by officers from Cumbria police, executed a warrant on Sharkey’s house. Here, they found two copying towers for making counterfeit discs, 600 ‘master’ film discs, over 33,000 MP3 music files and over 5,000 CD and DVD cover artworks.
Phil Ashcroft, Head of Cumbria Trading Standards, said: “I hope that the sentence imposed today will act as a deterrent to others who are tempted to think that copying film or music discs is a quick and easy way to make money.
“The penalties available to the court are substantial and custodial sentences are increasingly imposed by the courts in the battle against counterfeiters.”
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added: “The court has clearly shown that strong penalties can be imposed on those seeking to steal films and TV programmes and use them to generate substantial criminal profits.
“There is no doubt that this person was running a criminal business and I would like to thank Cumbria Trading Standards and Cumbria Police for their diligence in bringing this case to justice.”