DVD pirate sent to jail

A disabled man who made thousands of pirate DVD's in his living room has been jailed for 18 months.Christopher Hart's Larch Grove home, in Lowestoft, was raided by police in April 2007 and his computer system and thousands of DVDs were confiscated.

A disabled man who made thousands of pirate DVD's in his living room has been jailed for 18 months.

Christopher Hart's Larch Grove home, in Lowestoft, was raided by police in April 2007 and his computer system and thousands of DVDs were confiscated.

However, just five months later, the 49-year-old had replaced his 'sophisticated' DVD copying business with an identical system and was again producing thousands of counterfeit copies.

Ipswich Crown Court heard on Friday that Hart told police on both occasions that he was only copying films for his family and friends and not making any money from his enterprise.


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Martyn Levett, prosecuting, said market stall holders had admitted buying the counterfeit films from Hart for between �2 and �4 each.

One man told police he had e-mailed Hart and asked for a list of film titles while another had e-mailed Hart with a list of films he wanted copies of.

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Mr Levett said that during the first raid on April 3, 2007, 3,353 DVDs were confiscated along with DVD labels and packaging, which infringed copyright and registered trademarks of big Hollywood producers such as Warner Bros and Tri-Star.

Mr Levett said the computer copying system was sophisticated and the films and artwork were meticulously catalogued on the hard drive.

He said that all the equipment was seized, but on July 31 and by chance, a police officer noticed some 200 printed classic film sleeves at the property.

'It showed he had not taken the warning of the shot across the bows,' added Mr Levett.

On September 5, a second raid took place and an identical computer system and some 2,000 DVD's were confiscated. Experts examined 136 and found 86 to be counterfeit.

Hart, who has a record of dishonesty, pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property, to infringing copyrights and trademarks and to offering counterfeit DVDs for sale.

Matthew McNiff, mitigating, said his client had suffered an injury at work and had found a way of keeping busy at home. He said: 'It was a hobby that snowballed. It was a cost neutral exercise. He knows it was wrong, but it was not funding an extravagant lifestyle.

Judge Peter Thompson said the aggravating features were the volume of 'good copies' of DVDs Hart was producing, which undermined the film and television industry and that he continued making fraudulent DVDs so soon after his arrest and while on bail.

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