ELSPA Raid Nets 85,000 Discs

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The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association’s Anti-Piracy Unit netted an 85,000-disc haul during a raid on a market in East Yorkshire in the U.K.

Part of the confiscated goods included discs marked “Volume 9 DS Games,” which contained illegal copies of games for the Nintendo DS system. According to ELSPA forensic experts, the discs had been appearing for roughly four to six weeks, but these were the first ones discovered in the U.K. The discs contain approximately 200 “current” games for the DS system, with a retail value estimated at ₤6000 ($11,800).

An increase in counterfeit goods at the Walton Street market in Hull led to the raid, which was conducted by officers of the Hull CID, Hull Trading Standards, the Riverside Neighborhood Patrol Team, the ELSPA IP Crime Unit, the Mechanical Copyright Protection Agency and representatives from Adidas and Nike. “A number of people” were interviewed by Trading Standards officers following the raid, which targeted illegally copied music and counterfeit clothing as well as pirated software.

“Piracy costs the games industry dearly – just like that of any other entertainment industry,” said John Hillier, chief of the ELSPA’s crime unit. “Making good and inventive games is an expensive and creative process, with some titles today costing ₤20 million ($39.4 million) or more to develop. To make a quality title involves teams of highly skilled professionals, from programmers and graphic artists to voice actors and musicians. When a pirate sells illegally copied games they undermine the viability of our industry. The worst-case scenario is that pirate activity could cost the jobs of some of the creative talent and that would be a catastrophe.”

Trading Standards officer Mike Pindar said, “Local traders have gone out of business as a result of these counterfeiters and people who buy from them. The people who lose out are the retailers and the public. We’re going to be very active on counterfeiting and it is only a matter of time before these people receive a visit from the police and ourselves.”

“We have made big inroads into the market now and it is our intention to keep raiding it,” added Detective Sergeant Reed of the Hull CID. “We’re going to meet with Trading Standards and see whether we can make this a regular thing.”

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