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The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) has been involved in piloting an innovative anti-piracy campaign that aims to make London a fake free zone by the Olympics in 2012. The campaign was formally announced on December 3rd and is being led by the MPA and UK Film Council with support from FACT, UK Intellectual Property Office, London Councils, London Trading Standards Association and the Metropolitan Police. It will be the largest ever collaboration on anti-piracy in the UK.
In the first two week period 39 arrests were made. This included 82 seizures in Tower Hamlets, Brent & Harrow and Lewisham. All together approximately 90,250 DVD’s have been seized along with a number of pornographic DVD’s, 16 DVD burners, credit cards and two computers.
Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT says: “Piracy is often seen as a “victimless” crime but this could not be further from the truth. As an illegal “business” it generates £200m a year for criminals in the UK. Evidence also shows that the manufacture, distribution and sale of fake DVDs, is controlled by organised crime networks operating in the UK and worldwide. The aim of Fake Free London is to enable and assist enforcement agencies across the capital in tackling the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit DVDs and the organised criminal networks enabling and profiting from this illegal trade.”
Copyright theft cost the film and TV industries £486m in 2007. Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London commented: “The general public need to know that piracy has a devastating loss to the UK film and TV industry – almost £500m was lost in revenue in 2007. This not only affects the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who work in UK film but may start to impact on the creativity and quality of films themselves.”
Through education, the campaign will help local government, businesses, traders and the wider community understand the gravity of piracy and how it affects their borough. Councillor Daniel Moylan of London Councils said: “London Councils is committed to fighting for more resources for London and getting the best possible deal for London’s 33 councils. We develop policy, lobby government and others, and run a range of services designed to make life better for Londoners.”
David Lammy MP, Minister of State for Intellectual Property and Higher Education said: “Legislation alone will not combat counterfeiting and piracy. Good law is great but enforced law is better. The Fake Free London campaign sends a clear message that we are all serious about tackling this problem. This partnership will ensure that consumers, legitimate businesses and their employees are protected from those that choose to break the law.”
As part of this initiative the film industry is committed to giving back to people in local communities. There will be free screenings of Danny Boyle’s latest film Slumdog Millionaire in all three London boroughs in December. A programme will also be put into place next year which entails Local libraries receiving DVD donations, allowing members of the public to come and borrow genuine DVDs.”
Lucky, one of two black Labradors owned by the Motion Picture Association and FACT, with some of the counterfeit DVDs. Lucky and Flo are the first animals in the world to be trained to sniff out optical discs.