Issued By
North Yorkshire
County Council

PIRACY UNIT RAIDS NORTH YORKSHIRE HOUSE


A MAJOR CD counterfeiting operation has been uncovered following a raid jointly organised by trading standards officers from North Yorkshire County Council and the anti-piracy unit.

A quantity of pornography was also seized during the raid on the house on the outskirts of York.

Stuart Pudney, head of trading standards and regulatory services for North Yorkshire County Council, said: "The house contained what is thought to be a major music CD counterfeiting operation. A library containing tens of thousands of albums was discovered during the raid together with equipment capable of making counterfeit copies of music, films and computer games. Six computers were also seized."

A large quantity of copied material which was waiting to be posted out was also confiscated.

A man in his 30s has been arrested and could face charges under copyright and trade marks legislation.

Trading standards officers were joined in the raid by members of the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society, the organisation which investigates the illegal copying of music that belongs to its composer and songwriter members.

It is believed the operation was offering to sell counterfeit music CDs through internet chatrooms and forums.

Nick Kounouplas of the MCPS anti-piracy unit, said: "This looks to have been a fairly big operation. You don't have six computers unless you mean business.

"We're grateful to the work of North Yorkshire trading standards. This team is one of the most professional in the country and is as keen as we are to see the back of operations like this.


"Counterfeiters steal from our members - the composers and songwriters - and from local retailers whose trade suffers and causes a detrimental effect on the local economy as a result."

Stuart Pudney added: "There is evidence that many counterfeiters use the proceeds of selling illegally copied CDs to fund other criminal activity - drugs for example. Local communities suffer socially too when a counterfeit product is sold.

"If people buy cheap, fake CDs they're promoting a black economy where people have no regard for the quality of products supplied to consumers and any sales threaten the livelihoods of honest businessmen."

4-4-'03

Contact: Richard Flinton on 01609-766400