A crackdown on piracy through increased law enforcement activity and co-operation between relevant bodies is paying off, with the most recent example being last month�s destruction of over 500 000 illegal copies of films seized in hot spots around Gauteng.

Commenting on this, James Lennox, CEO of the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) said: �Gauteng is the major market for pirated films, TV series and interactive games for obvious reasons followed by the Greater Durban area then the Cape Peninsula.

�While levels of piracy are at unacceptably high levels it should be noted that as a result of increased enforcement activity by the SAPS (particularly the Commercial Crime Units), Metro Police, the Department of Trade and Industry, SARS, Customs, National Prosecuting Authority and the Courts, the level of availability of pirated product is showing signs of reducing. Anti piracy efforts have been greatly assisted by the willingness of members of the public to use the much publicised Crimeline SMS service to report suspicious and illegal pirate activities. Some 700 tip offs have been received by Crimeline in respect to piracy since its inception some 18 months ago.

Lennox stresses that the above enforcement activities are not restricted to Gauteng and similar successes are being achieved around the country.
Questioned on where the illegal product was seized, Lennox said it was during a number of raids conducted by SARS, SAPS and SAFACT between June 2008 and January 2009.

�The bulk of the illegal product was seized at Bruma and Chameleon Village Flea Markets.

�While the number of discs seized was approximately 152 000 they contained a staggering 545 000 films. In many instances anything from 28 to 50 films were compressed on a single disc. The bulk of the multi titled discs originated in the Far East and included local content such as Mamma Jack, Mr Bones and Tsotsi. Other local content was found on the discs burned locally, including Jerusalema and older Leon Schuster and Jamie Uys titles.

�Leon Schuster assisted with the destruction of the discs, which was held at the premises of Compact Disk Technologies, and certainly ensured media interest in the event. Well known local recording artist Mzweti Mbuli also dropped in to help,� explained Lennox.

Elaborating on the objectives of ongoing operations by SAFACT in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, Lennox said the objectives included:

  • Ongoing disruption of the sale of pirated films;
  • Dismantling of pirate distribution networks ;
  • Destroying the production capacity of pirates;
  • Preventing the importation of discs containing illegal copies of films;
  • Imprisonment and seizure of assets of those making illicit profits from this illegal activity; and
  • Increased protection of locally produced film and TV content to minimise piracy.

For more information on film and game piracy, and the R400 million it is costing legitimate business, please visit www.safact.co.za.

The Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) is an industry funded, not for profit organisation, established in 1999 to represent the interests of its members in the cinematographic film exhibition and distribution industry.

One of SAFACT�s primary responsibilities is to protect the intellectual property rights of its members.
SAFACT fulfils this responsibility by:

  • Advocating respect for intellectual property rights
  • Increased enforcement of intellectual property rights
  • Assisting in increasing the States commitment and capacity to successfully prosecute copyright theft
  • Undertaking initiatives towards improving the legislative environment in respect to intellectual property
  • Create an environment in which counterfeiting and piracy is socially unacceptable