UK’s first street posters warning of penalties for film piracy

The Federation Against Copyright Theft today launched a major initiative aimed at reducing the sale of pirate DVDs in Hackney, East London.

 The posters, carrying the Met Police, Hackney Council and FACT logos, support the ongoing enforcement activity by the Hackney Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Hackney Council’s Community Safety Team targeting fly pitchers and street sellers of counterfeit DVDs in Hackney Town Centre.

In February 2007 a multi-agency operation led to the arrest of seven persistent offenders and resulted in 10 year Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and five month suspended prison sentences.

Highlighting the people subject to the ASBOs and also warning of the penalties for selling pirate DVDs, the large posters are being displayed from today on lamp posts in the car park of Tesco and in some of the surrounding streets. There are also leaflets and smaller posters being distributed to local businesses.

Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT, said: “The recent enforcement operations against the street sellers operating in Hackney were well publicised, especially in light of the 10 year ASBOs meted out.

However, enforcement needs to be combined with public awareness and this poster campaign should leave no one in any doubt of the penalties for selling counterfeit DVDs.

Whilst such activity may seem relatively harmless, these are individuals working for organised crime networks and those networks make substantial criminal profits from film piracy. ”

Inspector Richard Munns of Hackney’s Safer Neighbourhood Team said, “Criminality and anti-social behaviour in all its guises are not tolerated on the streets of Hackney. The tough sentences imposed by the courts and this new poster campaign will reassure Hackney’s law-abiding residents that the police and our partners are doing everything in their power to keep Hackney’s streets safe and free of criminality”

Councillor Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Hackney Council said: “It is important that our residents realise the connection between buying a counterfeit DVD and giving money to organised crime. It’s an illegal activity which is taken very seriously and carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. The posters should be seen as a reminder of that.”

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