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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Pirates target Spider-Man
Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man
Spider-Man became a huge box office hit
Spider-Man has become the most pirated film of the year so far in the UK, with an estimated 30,000 illegal copies sold, according to a trade publication.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) has seized 1,000 pirate Spider-Man DVDs and videos, according to the Screen Daily website.

Men in Black II
Men in Black II is released in US cinemas on Wednesday
But the group only ever intercepts about 3% of copied films - meaning the actual number of illegal copies in the UK is likely to be about 30 times that number.

Elsewhere, South African authorities have claimed a major victory by seizing more than 7,000 pirated DVDs being smuggled into the country in just two days, the Screen Daily website said.

They included copies of Men in Black II, Spider-Man and Monster's Ball.

The number of pirated DVDs seized in the UK has rocketed, with Fact saying it has confiscated almost five times as many counterfeit discs in the UK in the first five months of 2002 compared with the same period in 2001.

It has seized more than 39,000 illegal DVDs in 2002 so far - up from 8,000 in the first five months of 2001.

Haul

Film piracy in the UK alone was worth 8bn in 2001, Fact say.

The South African haul came as authorities there began a new drive to stop pirated discs being brought into the country.

Some 3,800 DVDs were of Men in Black II - despite the fact that the eagerly-anticipated film is only released in the United States on Wednesday.

"We are now taking the strongest possible action against these opportunists who are killing the film industry," said Fred Potgieter, managing director of South Africa's Federation Against Copyright Theft.

See also:

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