Monday, August 25, 2008

Organised crime syndicates move into DVD, internet piracy

ORGANISED crime syndicates including bikie gangs have moved into DVD and internet piracy, with some channelling millions of dollars in illicit profits into drug dealing ventures.

They are making their money off the back of movies like The Dark Knight, of which pirated DVDs have already been seized in Australia, and locally funded film The Bank Job, which was on DVD in Australia before its release on the big screen.

Australia is now second only to China in the Asia-Pacific region for the number of pirated DVDs seized, according to the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft.

Neil Gann, AFACT director of operations, told The Daily Telegraph the growing sophistication of the pirate industry meant the big players were taking over from computer geeks and "mum-and-dad" operations.

More than $233 million a year was being stolen from the country's film industry - including video hire stores and suburban cinemas - and ending up in the pockets of criminals.

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