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London pirate DVD trader jailed for 18 months

Bermondsey trader, in business for more than 15 years, admitted to making and possessing 5,000 fake DVDs; anti-piracy body sees results in UK.

A trader has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after admitting making and possessing for sale almost 5,000 fake copies of DVDs from his central London video shop.

Mr David Cox, 50, from Bermondsey, was sentenced on 11 December 2012 at the Inner London Crown Court after pleading guilty to six counts of infringing the Trade Marks Act 1994, two counts of infringing the Copyright, Patents and Designs Act 1988 and two counts of infringing the Video Recordings Act 1984. A further 1,947 offences were also taken into consideration. 

Approximately 1,600 of the DVDS seized from a total of 4,833 were rated ‘Restricted 18’,  available only from licensed sex shops; Cox’s company Premier Videos was not licensed. Other fakes included popular titles such as The Lion King, Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher.

The prosecution followed a joint inspection in November 2011 by Southwark trading standards and representatives from FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) when a total of 4,833 items were seized. Premier Videos Ltd was also ordered to pay a fine of £100.

David Cox was the sole director of Premier Videos Limited and had been in business for more than 15 years. The counterfeit DVDs retailed for approximately £3 each or two for £5. Customers also had the opportunity to hire a film for £4 with a pound repayable on return.

FACT has made strides combatting piracy in the UK this year, with the organisation confirming to Screen that it has not registered one illegal recording of a film in a UK cinema over the past 19 months. A number of online bootleggers have been jailed, with the case of Anton Vickerman generating national headlines in August.

Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for finance, resources and community safety, said of Cox’s sentence: “Southwark Council is taking a very active role in clamping down on illegal counterfeit goods. Whilst we are keen to work with businesses on compliance issues, fake DVDs are usually of a significantly low quality and damage the UK film industry. We hope this jail sentence will serve as a strong deterrent to other traders involved in selling counterfeit DVDs.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT director general, added: “Criminal businesses set up to sell counterfeit goods harm the livelihoods of almost 2 million people who work in the UK’s creative industries. However, we are seeing that the criminal justice system can and will take action against those criminals and they risk a prison sentence.”

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