More than 30,000 pirate copies of DVDs and VCDs as well asmanufacturing and computer equipment have been seized in raids on an onlinemail-order syndicate in Malaysia.

The raids were carried out on three sites in Penang on Aug 11 byMotion Picture Association of America (MPAA) staff and a 20-person team fromMalaysia's Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA).

The raids targeted operators of five websites that were suspectedof distributing pirate DVDs to a wide network of countries including the US,UK, France, Argentina and Holland.

Seized titles included Bruce Almighty and 2 Fast 2 Furious, two of this summer's biggest hits inthe US, and copies were understood to have sold for as little as $7.

"Hard goods internet piracy - the illegal sale, distribution ortrading of copies of motion pictures in either videocassette or optical discformat on websites, online auction sites, and via email solicitations - is agrowing trend," Ken Jacobsen, the MPAA's senior vice president and director ofworldwide anti-piracy operations, said in a statement.

"Much like downloadable media, the pirated motion pictures in hardgoods format are typically poor-quality video-camera recordings.

"The sites run by this syndicate were designed expressly to trickconsumers into believing they were purchasing legitimate, professionallyproduced DVDs.

"These sitesclearly demonstrate the way in which the internet has turned DVD piracy into aglobal problem. Pirated discs manufactured in Asia are available for shipmentto unwitting customers in their homes around the world."