Counterfeit computer games factory busted

A multi-agency approach involving Greater Manchester Police, Manchester, Trading Standards and the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), has successfully busted a 'mini-factory' producing copied counterfeit games software.

Investigations began in the early part of the year, following suspicions that counterfeit merchandise was being produced in the Manchester area.

Enquiries resulted in a search during which thousands of copies of software found at the house were seized. The search revealed hardware capable of producing counterfeit software from four complete computer systems containing 20 CD writers. In addition, over 4000 CD's believed to contain PlayStation games software with a retail value of over £123,000 were also found. All the items were seized and are currently being examined by ELSPA together with Manchester Trading Standards to establish their legality.

Computer games industry watchdog ELSPA represents the interests of games publishers and has a dedicated crime unit made up of investigators combating computer games piracy.

The most recent figures for 2000 indicate that police made 884 raids and seized 222,740 CD's. However, it is estimated that over £3 billion is lost every year by the UK industry to software pirates.

Maximum penalties under TradeMark legislation are £5000 fine and/or six months in prison from Magistrates Court, but prosecutions pursued through the Crown Court carry an unlimited fine and up to 10 years in prison. (SP)

Related Northern Ireland Business News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 January 2020
Start A Business This New Year
Entrepreneurs in Belfast are being encouraged to make starting a business their New Year's Resolution. Many of us have dreamed of giving up the nine-to-five and becoming our own boss, whether it be as a personal trainer, massage therapist, car-detailer or event planner.
28 November 2019
Black Friday: NI Shoppers Among Highest UK Spenders
Shoppers in Northern Ireland are the UK's second-highest spenders on Black Friday, according to research from PwC. As bargain hunters take to the shops, they are planning to spend around 35% more than last year, an average of £183. The average increase across the UK is 11% or £224.
27 November 2019
Newry Sweet Producer Wins £250k Contract In China
A sweet production company based in Newry is to begin stocking shops in China after striking a deal worth £250,000. Crillys Sweets is aiming to grow its business in China to around £1 million over the next year with the help of the new contract.
08 October 2002
BSA offers £10,000 reward for software piracy information
The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a watchdog group representing the world’s leading software manufacturers, has announced a new reward campaign to step up their efforts to combat software piracy in Northern Ireland.
17 October 2002
NI businesses urged to audit IT systems
The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a watchdog group representing market-leading software manufacturers, are urging all businesses in Northern Ireland to conduct regular reviews of their software use to ensure that they are fully compliant and not in danger of incurring fines or penalties.