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Imported counterfeit GBA cartridges passed off as genuine for top prices

Friday 1 July 2005/... A 40-year-old Birmingham woman has been found importing counterfeit Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges and selling them over internet auction site eBay, following an investigation by Birmingham City Council Trading Standards Department and games industry trade body ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association).

The offender came to the attention of the authorities back in December last year after a member of the public complained they had bought an apparently genuine GBA game, only to discover it was a copy. ELSPA's Internet investigator subsequently made a series of test purchases from the woman's eBay page, working closely with Birmingham City Council Trading Standards. Trading Standards officers, assisted by ELSPA, searched her house in Sutton Coldfield to reveal a substantial number of counterfeit GBA cartridges, the majority of which were Nintendo 'Mario' titles. Records showed she had conducted almost 400 transactions over a period of 12 months.

Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA commented: "Counterfeiters believe that the numerous internet auction sites today offer a completely immune route to market for the illegal sale of counterfeit and pirated products - this is not the case. Sites such as eBay have stringent policies on illegal trading and cooperate fully with authorities to ensure these are enforced. ELSPA is grateful to Birmingham City Council Trading Standards for their hard work in this investigation."

Councillor Neil Eustace, chair of Birmingham City Public Protection Committee said: "It is notoriously difficult to bring to book people operating illegally on the Internet. Everyone involved has done an excellent job in seeing this investigation through to a successful conclusion."

The seller had been importing the counterfeit cartridges from Hong Kong, bringing them into the country through Coventry airport and offering them for between £10-£25, the top-end price far exceeding the typical cost of a counterfeit game. The woman made a full and frank admission when interviewed. The case now continues.


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

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:



Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: /

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

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