West Yorkshire Trading Standards has come down hard on a budding software piracy ring in Bradford after a joint raid with Yorkshire Police on a weekend computer fair netted illegal goods worth in excess of £100,000.
During the fair, held at Richard Dunn Sports Centre in Bradford, two individuals were arrested for selling pirated computer software and computer games. Further seizures of software and chipping devices were also made on a number of other stalls at the fair.
If translated into original product value, the goods seized - 12, 000 counterfeit software discs and more than 150 chipping devices - would be worth more than £1m on the UK retail market.
After the arrests, officers from Trading Standards and the Neighbourhood Policing Team carried out a house search in Leeds which uncovered another 5,000 counterfeit software, films and music discs. Further investigations are now underway.
Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “ “The illegal software trade is worth hundreds of millions of pounds in the domestic market alone. Trading Standards have had the power to enforce the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act since April 2007 and is committed to enforcing this Act to eradicate the sale of counterfeit software, music and computer games in the county.
“We would like to send out a warning to individuals involved in software piracy that they will be dealt with severely. The maximum penalty for crimes under copyright and trademark legislation carries a sentence of ten years imprisonment.”
NPT sergeant Julie Deacon, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are always pleased to work in partnership with Trading Standards. Anything that helps to reduce crime in the area is welcomed. If anyone has suspicions about counterfeit goods being sold please contact either your local NPT or Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.”
Najeeb Khan, vice chair of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) UK Member Committee welcomed the operation.
"The BSA fully supports the actions of Trading Standards in bringing about the arrest of these individuals. It sends a very clear message that the consequences of piracy can be severe and that serious offenders will be pursued all the way. These individuals were not only duping consumers, but robbing creators of intellectual property of the rewards for their efforts. In turn, software piracy impacts directly on the amount of money generated by tax revenues.
"Any money spent on these illegal goods was certainly not being fed back in to the local economy and therefore was not bringing anything back to those businesses investing in this area, but instead merely acting as income for crime related activities. We urge consumers to purchase their goods from reputable sources, and to seek advice from the vendors themselves if in any doubt about the software authenticity,” he added.
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