A 32-year-old man has been fined £400 after a police investigation uncovered a DVD piracy scam he was running.
The man was ordered to pay the money, along with £87 of court costs, after pleading guilty at Woking Magistrates Court to charges of infringing copyright and breaching registered trade marks.
Gary Paul Brown, of Pirbright, near Woking, in Surrey, was convicted following a joint investigation by the Ministry of Defence Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).
The police had been alerted after a routine MOD examination of a property thought to have become vacant on a military family service quarter at Brookwood in Surrey. In one of the bedrooms, an MOD housing officer discovered a large quantity of DVD film boxes, place on shelves marked “ready to copy” or “ready to sell”. The local MOD Police community beat officer was called and further items, such as a computer, were seized. The police investigation resulted in Brown, who is a serving soldier, being charged with offences under the Copyright Act and the Trade Marks Act. In addition to being fined, the DVDs were all confiscated.
To assist their investigation, MOD Police CID branch called in experts from their own Computer Crime Unit and forensic computer examiners from FACT. “This sort of expertise is invaluable” said DC Stuart Dunn of MOD police.
“Using their skills, we can examine mobile phone data and computer data to see if there is evidence of criminal behaviour.”
Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT, said: “Making and selling counterfeit DVDs is a serious criminal offence, even if they are only being sold to work colleagues. The consequence can be a criminal record.
“FACT continues to work with the MOD Police on such matters and we will press for criminal action to be taken wherever possible.”
DC Dunn added: “The MOD runs its housing estate on orderly lines and criminal behaviour will not be tolerated. THE MOD Police has a good working relationship with Defence Estates, who showed alertness in suspecting this crime and called us in.
“FACT are always ready to assist the police in these cases too. If you’re going to copy commercial DVDs for personal profit, you are committing a crime and you’re risking the police knocking on your door if we’ve had a tip off.”