Constantin Film andHerbX, distributor andproducer of Michael"Bully" Herbig's currentbox-office hit (T)Raumschiff Surprise- Periode 1,have struck ablow against filmpiracy.

Constantin hasreported that a special anti-piracystrategy - developed with HerbX - hasso far prevented any piratedcopies of (T)Raumschiff beingproduced from originalsource material. "Thisshows that throughthe massive reductionand checking ofcontacts in thearea of productionand transport aswell as thecomplete encoding anddocumenting of alloriginal prints intheatrical distribution wecould so farprevent improper useon the side of theindustry."

Copies of apirated version ofthe sci-fi spoofhad begun circulatingduring the film'sopening weekend, but,thanks to theencoding, Constantin wasable to tracethe source ofa bootlegged versionback to ascreening in theUniversum Cinema inLandau. Legal actionhas now beingtaken against theexhibitor for negligenceand a claim will bemade for damages.In addition, preliminaryproceedings have beeninstigated against severalpeople trying to sell theillegally filmed copiesand the distributorhas also won thesupport of e-bayto stop auctionsof the bootlegs over its Internet site.

The German officeof Buena VistaInternational was thefirst distributor inGermany "to drawup security measuresand rules forevery possible accessto prints andsource material, obligingall cinemas as well asdubbing studios, couriers,warehouses etc. tokeep [to therules]," according togeneral manager WolfgangBraun.

Constantin and HerbX'striumph over thepirates came asthe German anti-piracytaskforce GVU revealedthat it hadfound over 260,000data-carriers with bootleggedmaterial in thefirst six monthsof 2004 andhad instigated over1,300 new criminalproceedings.

In addition,the police havecarried out searchesin over 1,000premises and some1,100 criminal caseshave been broughtto a close by June.