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Reviewed 29 November 2011

Six arrested in crack down on counterfeit CDs and DVDs

Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox joined Greater Manchester Police as they targeted IP crime in the North West. The operation was driven by the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

Six market traders suspected of producing and selling vast quantities of counterfeit CDs and DVDs were arrested during a series of raids co-ordinated by Greater Manchester Police as part of a wider initiative to crack down on organised crime.

Intelligence gathered by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), BPI, FACT, Greater Manchester Police, Trading Standards from Salford and Manchester, and the Department for Work and Pensions, identified a number of suspects that have been profiting from the sale of counterfeit goods at three major Manchester markets: Salford Market, Greymare Lane Market and Conran Street Market.

Baroness Wilcox, joined the strikes which took place on Friday 25 November. The Operation, Project Gulf, led by Greater Manchester Police and its partners, will strike a blow to the counterfeit trade, especially in the run up to Christmas.

The recovered pirate CDs and DVDs - with a street value of tens of thousands of pounds – included new music releases from Rihanna, Michael Buble and The Saturdays, and movie releases Puss In Boots, yet to be released in UK cinemas, and Moneyball, which was only released last Friday. Other items retrieved include imitation firearms, knives, and Class A drugs. The suspects have been released on bail pending further investigation.

Baroness Wilcox said:

"The Intellectual Property Office has played an important part in helping to collect the intelligence for this operation in Manchester. It is fantastic to see so many organisations working together to disrupt criminal activity.

"The Government has already worked with the Crown Prosecution Service to develop training which will equip prosecutors to deal effectively with cases involving counterfeit goods. And we will continue to work with Trading Standards, the Police and CPS to share information and disrupt this type of criminal activity."

BPI Director of Anti-Piracy, David Wood, representing the recorded music sector, said:

"Physical music piracy costs the record business more than £100million per year - a significant percentage of industry revenue. Buying and selling these fake CDs and DVDs strips artists of a fair reward for their music and deprives record companies – both big and small - of the capital required to invest in exciting new artists, merchandise and products that music fans deserve.

"We would like to thank Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council, and Salford Council for their professionalism and diligence in undertaking this collaborated approach to target the organised crime gangs who are manufacturing and distributing counterfeit CDs and DVD."

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added:

"FACT and the BPI have been working for some time to gather detailed intelligence on the major organised criminal elements controlling the sale of counterfeit film, TV and music discs on markets across Greater Manchester.

"Traders in counterfeit goods are harming the livelihoods of legitimate traders and businesses and impacting on livelihoods of the hard working people who work in the UK's creative industries.

"This operation proves the effectiveness of a multi-agency approach to tackling serious criminality, coordinated by Greater Manchester Police who have shown exemplary leadership."

Note to editors

  • The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trademarks and copyright. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
  • It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  • The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) External Link is the representative voice of the UK recorded music business. We are a trade organisation funded by our members - which include hundreds of independent music companies and the UK's four major record labels. BPI's members account for approximately 90% of all recorded music sold in the UK, and globally the UK's recorded music market is the third biggest.
  • The Anti-Piracy Unit specialises in the investigation of music piracy through the gathering of evidence relating to the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material.  For further information, visit the BPI website External Link.
  • The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) External Link is the UK's leading trade organisation established to protect and represent the interests of audio-visual and sports rights owners against copyright and trademark infringements.
  • Established in 1983, FACT External Link works closely with statutory law enforcement agencies to combat the growth of online/internet based piracy of film and other forms of broadcast material as well as the continuing threat from pirate DVDs.

For more information contact:

Date of release: 29 November 2011