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INTERNET PIRACY CRACKDOWN BAGS A HAT-TRICK

ELSPA works with local authorities to catch Internet crooks

Friday 29 July 2005/... An anti-piracy operation carried out in Staffordshire at 10.30 yesterday morning by local Trading Standards officers, Police and an investigative officer from ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) marks the third raid in as many days in a crackdown on criminals using the Internet for piracy.

The raids, two headed by Staffordshire Trading Standards and one by Flintshire County Council Trading Standards, were initiated from evidence gathered by ELSPA's Internet investigator and resulted in the arrest of three individuals.

Yesterday's operation in Alrewas, Staffordshire targeted a man who evidence suggests was importing counterfeit product from the Far East and distributing them online. The illegal goods confiscated from his house included copied games as well as copied film discs and counterfeit clothing. He was arrested at the scene.

Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA commented: "It is often thought that the Internet offers a relatively safe and anonymous way to sell pirated and counterfeit goods. Although perhaps it has proved more difficult in the past to catch offenders online rather than at grassroots level, our ever-increasing relationships with service providers and auction websites as well as excellent cooperation from local Trading Standards and Police undoubtedly helps us to tackle this issue effectively."

A search of a property in Connahs Quay, Deeside, in Flintshire on the 27th July resulted in the arrest of a husband and wife team for offences under the Trade Marks Act. A huge amount of copied games was found, along with three PCs and several disc-duplicators. They are both cooperating with the investigation and have been released on bail.

A man has also been reported for Trade Mark offences after officers raided his house in Chadsmoor, Cannock on 26th July. They found 10 bagfuls of copied discs - predominantly games but also films and music - as well as two PCs and several copying towers. He now potentially faces criminal proceedings.

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

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.

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