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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 12:20 GMT
29 held in 'biggest' piracy raids
A counterfeit Rolling Stones CD
Fake CDs such as this are often indistinguishable from real ones
Twenty-nine people have been arrested in the biggest ever operation against those who make and sell counterfeit CDs, DVDs and computer games.

A six-month investigation has seen representatives from the record, film and software industries working with police and trading standards officers.

Seventeen addresses in Merseyside and Lancashire were raided.

The organisations involved say five "major" duplicating factories were also exposed during the operation.

The operation was conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions, along with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) and the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa).

Benefit fraud

More than 130 police, trading standards officers and investigators were involved in the dawn raids.

They were also targeting those committing benefit fraud, reflecting the growing increase in the level of cooperation between the government and the so-called "creative" industries.

"The criminal gangs that control the production, manufacturing, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods may have become increasingly organised and large in number, but so have we," said BPI anti-piracy director David Martin.

"By taking a multi-agency approach to tackle this growing problem, we can not only pool our intelligence and resources, but seek far stiffer penalties for those who profit at the expense of the creative industries and the taxpayer alike," he added.

Fact says lost sales and cinema admissions from piracy and illegal downloads cost the UK media industries more than 810m per year.


SEE ALSO:
Raids uncover fake Bollywood DVDs
11 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Fake cigarette gang found guilty
03 Mar 06 |  England
Police unit targets film piracy
23 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Disc counterfeiter sent to jail
22 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Fake invite lures counterfeiters
23 Aug 05 |  Americas


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