NYPD arrests 43 in vid, CD piracy bust

'Operation Copycat' nabs $300,000 in merchandise

NEW YORK — The New York City Police Dept. Tuesday announced the arrest of 43 people, charged with illegally pirating videotapes and CDs worth more than $300,000.

The police said they also shut down what they believe to be the largest CD reproduction lab ever seized by law enforcement officials in the U.S.

Police said that the lab that was shut down was capable of turning out 75 CDs an hour and had an annual production capacity valued at $19 million.

At a Brooklyn press conference, NYC Police Commissioner Howard Safir outlined “Operation Copycat,” an undercover investigation that began last fall and is still in effect.

15,000 videos seized

Tuesday’s raid netted more than 15,000 videotapes, including bootleg copies of “Titanic,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Spice World” and “Jerry Springer: Too Hot For TV.”

The police also seized more than 20,000 CDs, including pirated copies of the “Titanic” soundtrack and recordings by such artists as Usher, Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson and LL Cool J.

Assisting the New York police in their investigation were the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the Recording Industry Assn. of America, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Internal Revenue Service.