U.K. DVD seizures quintuple

Bootleg boom matched by effective campaign

LONDON — Authorities in the U.K. seized 1.75 million pirate DVDs in 2003, five times more than the previous year.

According to the Federation Against Copyright Theft, that figure reflects the boom in piracy and the growing effectiveness of its seizure campaign.

“Finding Nemo” was the year’s most pirated pic, followed by “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Brother Bear” and “Calendar Girls.” All of the top four are Disney titles.

The vast majority of pirate DVDs come into the U.K. from the Far East, notably Malaysia, China and Pakistan.

FACT’s director of operations Jim Angell estimates authorities seize between one-fifth and one-third of all pirate material entering the country. He claims the success rate improved markedly last year because of new ways of tracking the pirates back to their country of origin.

Of the 1.75 million DVDs seized, Angell says roughly 80% came from camcorder recordings in theaters. The rest came from industry sources, including AMPAS screeners. But he confirmed FACT has yet to see any DVDs pirated from BAFTA screeners.

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