Following an investigation by the U.K.’s Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, a Welsh man has been sentenced to four years in prison for pirating videogames, movies and music.
Gordon Cullen and his daughter Pauline were convicted of making illegal copies of the material and then selling them at the Coed Mawr market in Flintshire, Wales, from stalls marked “The DVD Man – for all your top quality DVDs at rock bottom prices.” According to the report, the DVDs and games, all of which were pirated copies, were being sold for ₤5 ($10) each, three for ₤10 ($20) or seven for ₤20 ($40).
Operation Buzzard, a series of raids carried out in October 2006 involving the ELSPA as well as Trading Standards officers, Department for Work and Pensions investigators and music industry representatives, netted copying equipment used in Cullen’s operation, large numbers of counterfeit materials and financial evidence. Gordon Cullen received 32 months for the illegal copying operation, as well as 16 months for social benefits fraud, and a fine of ₤190,000 ($381,000). Failure to pay the fine will result in an additional three years to his sentence. Pauline Cullen received an eight-month suspended sentence and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service.
“ELSPA would like to thank everyone involved with Operation Buzzard for their work and helping to protect local traders and the general community from the effects of pirated goods,” said ELSPA Managing Director Michael Rawlinson. “Our investigators will continue to work closely with other trade bodies and enforcement agencies. The simple fact about piracy of video games, music and films is that it is illegal and punishable by fines, community service and jail sentences. No matter which way you look at counterfeiting it is nothing more than theft. Counterfeiters are only out for one thing: money. And because of this consumers who buy counterfeit games have no recourse under law for faulty goods.”