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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 22:35 GMT
Pirate DVDs 'support local crime'
Piracy banner
A giant banner will be flown over central Scotland
Christmas shoppers in Scotland are being warned that buying pirate DVDs could be supporting local crime.

Copyright group Industry Trust for IP Awareness said it wanted to shatter the illusion of DVD pirates as harmless "Del Boy" characters.

It said illegal traders were part of the framework of crime, which also includes drugs and offensive weapons.

The message coincides with trading standards awareness events being held in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling.

Counterfeit goods including DVDs, CDs and computer games will be on display and promotional staff will be taking to the streets of the capital with giant TV screens displaying the anti-piracy message.

It is going into the pockets of criminals in their local area, or to people traffickers and gang masters
Lavinia Carey
British Video Association

A helicopter trailing a banner the size of a football pitch will also be flown over Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling on Wednesday carrying the message "Piracy is a crime".

Bryan Lewin, from the Trading Standards Institute, said: "Pirate DVDS are produced by serious and organised criminals who have stolen property, often trade marks and copyright, from their rightful owners.

"So, that's why Trading Standards say - don't be the giver or receiver of stolen goods this Christmas - don't buy fake DVDs, report them."

Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association, said she understood shoppers were always looking for a bargain, especially around Christmas.

Hotline number

But she added: "The bargain that people think they might get with a pirate DVD may in fact be a poor quality copy filmed at the back of a cinema with wobbly footage, dodgy sound and none of the extras that you get on genuine DVDs.

"We also want people to stop and think about where their money is going when they buy a pirate DVD.

"We believe that when they realise it is going into the pockets of criminals in their local area, or to people traffickers and gang masters, more and more shoppers will turn their back on these illegal products."

The Industry Trust has also set up a campaign hotline to report DVD pirate activity on 0845 60 34567.

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