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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 15:27 GMT
Fake goods 'fund paramilitaries'
About 2m of counterfeit DVDs, videos and CDs were seized
The entertainment industry is launching a pre-Christmas campaign to stop people buying fake DVDs in Northern Ireland.

The illegal trade in pirated movies in the UK is estimated to be worth at least 500 million, and is expected to exceed 1 billion within three years.

Security Minister Ian Pearson, who chairs the Organised Crime Task Force, said in Northern Ireland it was the paramilitaries who benefited.

He was speaking at the launch of the campaign in Belfast on Tuesday.

About 2m of counterfeit DVDs, videos and CDs were seized in Northern Ireland last year.

It is estimated that about 80% of the criminal gangs involved in intellectual property crime have links or associations with paramilitary groups.

Mr Pearson said the government needed everyone's support "to help rid society of this type of crime which is so often perceived to be victimless".

"Paramilitary groups exploit every avenue to raise funds for terrorist activity, including illegally copying videos and DVDs," he said.

"The consumer needs to know how DVD piracy impacts on them and their wider community."

Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association, said: "By challenging the public's view about piracy being a victimless crime, we hope to make people stop and think where their money is going before they buy a pirate DVD."

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