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Video Pirate Wishes He Could Rewind Tape
1 March 2006

Mr Janarthanan Vaitheesvaramoorth, aged 22 of Ruskin Gardens, Harrow was sentenced yesterday at Harrow Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to 18 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and 5 offences under the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The Court heard the matter first came to the attention of Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service following a complaint from a member of the public that counterfeit and unclassified DVDs were being supplied from a small video concession in the rear of Belmont Super Store, a grocery shop in Belmont Circle, 9 Warwick Parade, Harrow.

An Enforcement Officer from Trading Standards conducted an undercover test purchase of 5 unclassified DVDs on 7th April 2005.

On 13th April Trading Standards Enforcement Officers visited the shop accompanied by a representative from the British Phonographic Industry, a trade body which protects copyright in certain Bollywood films and music.

A large number of films were identified as being counterfeit and were seized for further examination. During the search, a computer was taken and a number of video recorders and DVD copying equipment. Over 300 video cassettes and just under 1000 DVD’s were seized, along with labels for them that had been printed off the computer.

The seized items were later listed and samples sent off for expert examination which revealed the registered trade marks of Sony, Metro Goldwyn, Twentieth Century Fox and Universal were being infringed along with many other Asian film producers such as Yash Raj, EROS, Movie Box and Saregama.

Further films were submitted to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), including one pornographic DVD. These were identified as being unclassified.

Vaitheesvaramoorth’s computer was sent for forensic examination and was found to contain files and other material needed to produce counterfeit DVDs.

The defendant was interviewed in September 2005 where he admitted he was the owner of the business and had been trading for 6 months. He was selling and hiring Tamil, Hindi and English film titles.

The Magistrates commented on the large quantity of infringing articles which were seized. They stated that Vaitheesvaramoorth “was running an organised business to intentionally cause serious harm to the copyright owners”.

Vaitheesvaramoorth who was represented in Court for his sentencing received a 6 month sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid community service work, and was ordered to pay £2,288 costs to Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service.

Speaking after the case, John Taylor, Director of Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service said “Retailers have a duty to ensure that all video works they supply are genuine copies and have been correctly classified by the BBFC. By supplying counterfeit or unclassified DVDs, consumers receive poor quality films or can’t make decisions as to whether or not they are suitable for viewing by children. In addition the retailer doesn’t know whether they can in fact be supplied to children below the specified age. If anyone suspects that shops are dealing in counterfeit or unclassified films, they should contact us”.

Raymond Leinster, FACT Director General said “Supplying and manufacturing counterfeit DVDs is a crime that is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. We continue to work with Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service Trading Standards to ensure that those involved in such criminal activities are prosecuted.”

Mohammed Tariq, Senior Investigator for the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said “This is an excellent result that I hope act as a deterrent to other businesses in the London area who think they can flout the law by selling counterfeit and unclassified DVDs. This type of trading creates unfaetion and loss to the genuine trade mark owners."


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