Sheri Jenning’s looks at piracy in Italy, where counterfeit goods flourish.

Matteo Garrone’s 2008 success Gomorrah hit a nerve in Italy, where counterfeit goods, one of the film’s themes, flourish. Film piracy costs the Italian industry an estimated $738m (€530m) a year, according to a recent study by the Italian Anti-Audiovisual Piracy Federation (Fapav). It revealed counterfeit DVDs alone raked in an estimated $463m (€332m) in 2008.

Based on a sample of 2,038 individuals aged 15 and over, the study revealed 32% of Italians (16 million) confessed to having watched illegal copies of films during 2008, with 60% saying they knew it to be a crime.

The Guardia Di Finanza (GDF), Italy’s police fraud squad, recovered 10.8 million DVDs in 2008. Those arrested risk six months to three years in jail.

In June police shut down website Vedogratis, which allowed free access to films via a link to a Hong Kong site, after visits to the site surged from 16,000 to 100,000 per day over five months.

The industry and the government agree the existing anti-counterfeiting legislation is too lenient and an anti-piracy

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