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Ayr Supplier Cut Off

125 Hour Community Service Order for Repeat Home Counterfeiter

Tuesday 17th April 2007/ A man who was prosecuted after being caught in his home with over 800 illegally copied Xbox and PlayStation games, as well as hundreds of copied films and TV programmes, was sentenced on Tuesday 10th April to a 125 hour Community Service Order for contravening the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (1988) and the Trade Marks Act (1994).

John Hamilton, 43, of Caledonia Road in Ayr, who already has previous convictions for similar offences, was exposed after selling copied games to an undercover investigator in an Internet forum. Despite using his mother-in-law's sheltered housing address in Ayr for 'returns' and an anonymous email account, Hamilton was unaware that his 'buyer' was an ELSPA Internet investigator.

Hamilton's activities led to South Ayrshire's Trading Standards Service being tipped-off and ELSPA investigations into on-line accounts led Officers straight to his door for the second time in less than three years. Trading Standards Officers and an ELSPA investigator assisted Strathclyde Police as they Searched Hamilton's premises and garden shed. The swoop revealed illegally copied stock, two PC containing disc-burning software, spools of blank DVDs and boxes of padded envelopes.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA commented: "Our investigations will continue to monitor the markets and work closely with our Trading Standards partners in stamping out counterfeiting. The simple fact about piracy is that it is illegal and punishable by fines, Community Service and jail sentences. No matter which way you look at counterfeiting it is nothing more than theft. Counterfeiters are only out for one thing: money. And because of this consumers who buy counterfeit games have no recourse under law for faulty goods."

Commenting on the case, a spokesperson for South Ayrshire Trading Standards said: "This case is part of an on-going clampdown on those who sell counterfeit goods in our Community. Whether directly through markets and street trading, or even on-line from the comfort of their own PC, we will investigate and prosecute those who sell fakes that shake consumer confidence and badly dent the revenues of legal sellers. This case also shows that those who believe that they can use the Internet to freely download and sell illegal films and games should think again. People may think that because they don't set foot outside to sell fakes that they are not going to get caught, but you never know who your buyers might be, or who they'll tell. Officers from Strathclyde Police or Trading Standards can search homes and take away a persons stock and their PC."



About ELSPA -

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

ELSPA's activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at

About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.

ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately £540 million. Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware.

Counterfeited/pirated games are often mixed with obscene or pornographic material.

Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.

Proven links exist between many organised counterfeiting organisations and dealers in drugs and pornography.

For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Tom Sargent/Laura West

Barrington Harvey

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781


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