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Last Updated: Monday October 20 2008 06:59 GMT

Ricky investigates fake DVD sales

Ricky with fake DVDs

Around three million fake DVDs were seized by police in the UK in 2007.

But is it illegal to watch them? And why shouldn't you buy them?

We sent Ricky to investigate.


So how many DVDs do you have? I love to lounge around in front of the TV with a good DVD, but it seems some people don't care how they get their hands on them.

I've been looking into the increasing amount of pirate DVDs being sold on the streets and markets across the UK. Fake DVDs have nothing to do with the companies that actually make the films, they are cheap rip-offs and they're usually a complete waste of time.

I spent the day at a secret location where thousands of fake DVDs end up every week. Once the police confiscate the counterfeit goods they hand them to FACT (which stands for Federation Against Copyright Theft).

How to spot a FAKE dvd
A fake Quantum of Solace DVD
The film is still in cinemas and the DVD isn't in shops yet
The DVD is cheaper than others in shops
The DVD comes in flimsy packaging, not hard plastic
There may be writing in other languages on the packaging, and reviews that don't match
It's their job to get rid of the DVDs because they want to protect the movie industry. None of the profits made from fake DVDs go towards the movie companies like Disney, Warner Brothers and Universal.

Instead, that money usually ends up in criminals' pockets. So FACT shred every single fake DVD to try and stop the piracy.

I stood in front of three large skips filled to the brim with movies. Some of the films aren't even out yet as real ones in shops and they are still on at the cinema; like Mamma Mia and Batman - The Dark Knight. I couldn't believe just how many fake DVDs end up at the FACT HQ ever single week.

It's NOT illegal to watch them

The people who work for FACT showed me the quality of some of the fakes. I have to admit some of them were watchable, but you could tell they were filmed in a cinema because the lighting and sound weren't very good.

It's not illegal to buy or watch fake DVDs, but it is illegal to record a film from inside a cinema and it's against the law to copy and distribute them.

Before I went to visit FACT I managed to get my hands on the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

That film hasn't even been released in the cinema, yet already criminals have tried to copy the film and pass it off as a new DVD. However, when I tried to play the DVD, nothing happened and there was no film to play.