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MAJOR RAID REMOVES OVER £1/2 MILLION ILLEGAL CONTENT FROM UNREGULATED MARKETPLACE

Operation at Midlands car boot sale removes 20,000 counterfeit games, films and music

Tuesday 5 April 2005/... In the early hours of Sunday morning, a team of anti-piracy officials swooped on illegal traders at a Staffordshire car boot sale, leading to the removal of 20,000 fake DVDs with an estimated street value of over half a million pounds.

The manoeuvre, led by Staffordshire Police and supported by ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), Staffordshire Trading Standards, FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) and Customs and Excise, uncovered a total of 20 stalls at Himley, Wombourne selling copied games, films, music, business software, 30,000 contraband cigarettes and a quantity of Viagra tablets. Pirated copies of Doom 3, a title rated as suitable for adults only, was the most prevalent games title, while officers discovered a small amount of previously unseen fake Gamecube mini discs.

Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA commented: "This case illustrates the way in which piracy poses a threat to members of the public, allowing titles containing unregulated adult-rated content to be sold illegally without the enforcement of our rigorous ratings system, which is strictly adhered to by legitimate retail outlets. ELSPA would like to thank all those involved for their efforts to eradicate computer and video games piracy."

Two persons from the West Midlands area have been reported for offences against the Trade Marks Act 1994. The case is currently proceeding with the offenders now facing possible prosecution.

ELSPA (The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) represents the interests of the UK games publishers. It has a dedicated anti piracy unit with investigators based across the UK and often works closely with the Police and Trading Standards to combat computer games piracy.

Anyone with any information on computer games piracy should contact the police, their local Trading Standards Office or call the ELSPA anti piracy unit hotline on 08705 133405.

EDITORS NOTES

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

It is estimated that over £2 billion is lost every year by UK industry to games software counterfeiters.

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

Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

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

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

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

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.

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

DEBORAH COSTER / EMMA COWIE

BARRINGTON HARVEY

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: debi.coster@bhpr.co.uk / emma.cowie@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper's Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1J

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