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Pirates held in 2 nations

Seven suspects are in custody in England

British police Tuesday arrested 10 people believed to be involved in a large film piracy network, while in New Zealand the police arrested a staffer from a post-production company in the country’s first case involving theft of a film print.

The London raids were carried out by the Metropolitan Police Film Piracy Unit in the North Chingford, Harlow and Walthamstow areas, using intelligence from sources including the Federation Against Copyright Theft, record companies’ trade org IFPI and Waltham Forest Trading Standards.

Seven suspects are being held in custody; three have been freed on bail.

Detective superintendent Trevor Shepherd said: “The arrests are key in closing down a large proportion of the film piracy industry in the Southeast.”

In New Zealand, a 38-year-old will appear in court on Thursday charged with theft and breach of copyright of South Pacific Pictures’ “Sione’s Wedding” after the country’s biggest inquiry into piracy and theft of the film.

Pirated versions were widely distributed in New Zealand before the film’s March 30 theatrical premiere.

South Pacific Pictures said the pirated copies had cost it more than $300,000 in lost theatrical and video revenue.

“Sione’s Wedding” recorded the biggest opening weekend of any New Zealand film, ahead of “Whale Rider” and “The World’s Fastest Indian.”

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