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BRANSTON PIRATE IN PICKLE

Staffordshire Market Trader Could Face Jail After Trading Standards Swoop

Wednesday 21st March 2007/ A Staffordshire market trader who was caught by Trading Standards officers with thousands of illegally copied games and counterfeit DVDs at his Branston home could face jail.

Jason Andrew Duesbury, 37, of Branston - a suburb of Burton, Staffordshire, admitted 17 offences under the Trademarks Act, following a private prosecution brought by Staffordshire County Council at Burton Magistrates Court on 7th March. Trading Standards officers, police and ELSPA investigators swooped on Duesbury's home on 22nd September last year, where more than 300 illegally copied Xbox and PlayStation 2 games together with over 1,500 counterfeit DVDs were discovered in an upstairs office of the premises. A stash of adult films were also seized in the raid.

A PC and memory stick, as well as four duplicators and three chipped Xbox consoles, were also seized. Trading Standards staff worked with ELSPA investigators and other industry experts to establish that all 2,000-plus titles were counterfeit and bore unauthorised trademarks, the court heard.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA commented: "ELSPA would like to thank everyone involved for their work instigating this investigation and helping to protect local traders and the general community from the effects of pirated goods."

Roger Constantine, prosecuting, said: "Duplicators have one use and one use only - that is to make copies of discs. "All the items seized were taken back to Stafford, where Trading Standards officers worked with representatives from the industry to establish that all the discs were counterfeit copies with unauthorised trademarks.

"The computer contained programmes to decrypt security devices which usually prevent authentic discs from being copied, and the memory stick included artwork for inlays and covers for Xbox games and films."

Mr Constantine added: "This is often described as victimless crime, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are the companies that produce the original items which lose money, but it also hits the trader in the high street, who loses out through people selling counterfeits on the markets."

Duesbury, who usually sold jewellery on his market stall, admitted trading in and producing pirated and counterfeit material when questioned. He said he had been trading in the illegal items for around a year and knew that he was breaking the law.

The case was adjourned until 2nd April for pre-sentence reports. Magistrates warned Duesbury that his case may be transferred to Staffordshire Crown Court for sentencing, as the maximum six months in jail that they are allowed to impose may not be sufficient.

Ends.

EDITORS NOTES

About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com

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 http://www.elspa.com.

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

Email: tom.sargent@bhpr.co.uk

Email: laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

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