South Africa ups piracy punishment

Counterfeiter gets year in jail

In a breakthrough for anti-piracy efforts in South Africa, a magistrate on Friday sentenced a DVD counterfeiter to 12 months jail without the option of a fine — the first time the penalty has been imposed.

Fulegenae Lumino, arrested in May, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, with six months was suspended for five years.

James Lennox, chief executive of anti-piracy organization SAfact, welcomed the sentence, saying he hoped it would act as a deterrent.

SAfact claims that DVD pirates cost the country about 2 billion rand (nearly $300,000) a year.

Meanwhile, police arrested four men for possession of counterfeit DVDs with an estimated value of $50,000 after a raid on a street market in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The previous weekend, police raided a DVD plant concealed in a luxury townhouse in Johannesburg. About $1.5 million worth of DVDs and equipment was seized, and three women and a man were arrested.

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