DVD pirate jailed over fake movies
A pirate music, films and games supplier from Thornbury has been jailed for 15 months.
Gary Boulter ran a copying operation at his home in Knapp Road, in which he reproduced thousands of DVDs and labelled them as if they were the genuine article.
The 51-year-old pleaded guilty to 19 offences under the Trade Marks Act, as well as offences contrary to the Video Recordings Act after being brought to book by investigators from South Gloucestershire Trading Standards.
Imposing the jail term, of which Boulter will serve half before being released on licence, Judge Simon Darwall-Smith told him: "This was an operation that ended up a fairly large commercial venture.
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"It has to be understood that anyone who falsely uses genuine logos or trademarks as their own debases the industry and the public are duped into buying non-genuine goods."
The judge heard that Boulter's proceeds of crime was put at £10,500 and this was the amount ordered to be confiscated from him. Boulter was also ordered to pay £12,000 in prosecution costs.
South Gloucestershire Trading Standards officers originally investigated Boulter following a tip-off alleging that he was involved in running a mini copying factory from his home.
Alan Fuller, prosecuting, told the court that a search warrant was executed there in December 2005, involving police, Trading Standards and undercover investigators from both the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association and the British Phonographic Industry.
This revealed Boulter had a room set up for the purposes of copying films, music, games and pornography.
Mr Fuller said computer and copying equipment was recovered, as well as 1,640 copied films on disc, 457 copied pornographic films, 232 copied music discs and some copied Xbox and PlayStation games. There were nearly 500 blank DVD-R discs and 173 copied inlays for latest title films.
The court heard that the legitimate market value of the detained films alone was estimated to total nearly £50,000 and the music discs about £3,000. Forensic examination of the computer established Boulter was copying in response to orders from friends and contacts.
Mr Fuller said: "In interview, Mr Boulter said all the equipment was for his personal use and he copied discs for friends and family at no charge."
Oliver Willmott, defending, told the court his client was of hitherto good character and married with children.
He said Boulter, who was not working, had osteoarthritis and asthma. He told the court: "He was carrying on his operation and it grew from a hobby. It was limited in profitability."
Mr Willmott stressed his client was not prosecuted for the copying aspect of the operation but simply for using trademarks he was not entitled to use.
Neil Derrick, senior enforcement officer for South Gloucestershire Trading Standards, told the Bristol Evening Post: "Mr Boulter obviously had no regard for the local retailers whose businesses are badly affected by counterfeiting, and he was supplying pornographic films, which are age-restricted and the content of which means they should only be sold by a licensed sex shop."