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Worcestershire Source Of Pirate Activity

Convicted pirate's PC pivotal to success of Worcestershire raid

Monday 15th January 2007/ A dawn raid at a Worcestershire man's premises has uncovered a stash of illegally copied games and films together with copying equipment thanks in part to the forensic information gleaned from another, previously convicted, criminal's computer.

The raid, which took place at on 9th January by Worcestershire Trading Standards, West Mercier Police and an ELSPA anti-piracy investigator, led to the seizure of a substantial quantity of computer equipment and a comprehensive library of console games. The 37 year-old man had been operating a mini factory at his home to duplicate illegal copies of games (mostly Xbox first-person shoot 'em up Halo 2) and DVD films.

ELSPA investigators first became aware of the man, who can't be named for legal reasons, back in April 2005, when his name and address was discovered on the PC of another man who had been supplying him with copied games and films. Later it was discovered he was advertising illegally copied game and film product on a website. Several test purchases were made followed by a raid that took place in August 2005 at his then Essex residence. During the raid, Essex Trading Standards and an ELSPA investigator discovered that he had just moved shortly before and his web site closed for 'legal reasons'.

The man suddenly reappeared in the autumn of 2006 advertising his wares on another web site and further test purchases were made by an online ELSPA investigator and Worcestershire Trading Standards before the raid took place at his Worcester premises. Four PCs, an Xbox and an Xbox 360 were found along with a duplicating tower, removable hard drive and 500 discs - many of which were masters from which he made copies. Following the raid the computers and discs were taken away for forensic examination.

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA commented: "The replication of computer and video games software and any other multimedia product is illegal and has a negative impact on both local and national businesses. ELSPA would like to thank the efforts of Worcestershire Trading Standards in their attempts to protect legitimate local traders and remove illegal products from the marketplace."

Peter Holmes, Principle Trading Standards Officer for Worcestershire County Council, added: "This Service has a robust approach to counterfeiters and their activities. These individuals will be brought before the criminal courts where they are likely to receive a heavy sentence, including imprisonment. This Service works closely with organisations such as ELSPA to protect the public, trade mark holders and legitimate traders."

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/ laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

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

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