Wednesday 27th August/... A Bristol man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to a total of 23 offences relating to the possessing for sale of illegally copied games, films, music and pornography on recordable discs. He also requested that a further 144 offences be taken into consideration and was ordered to pay£12,000 towards prosecution costs. Gary Boulter, 51, of 15 Knapp Road, Thornbury, Bristol, appeared before Bristol Crown Court on August 26 to be sentenced for offences under the Trade Marks Act (1994) and the Video Recordings Act (1985) as a result of a prosecution brought by South Gloucestershire Trading Standards. In addition to this, a confiscation order for£10,500 was made under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002), requiring that the outstanding money be paid within six months or he would be face a further nine months in prison.
Boulter was origionally investigated by South Gloucestershire Trading Standards following a tip-off alleging that he was involved in running a copying factory from his premises. A warrant was subsequently executed in December 2005 involving Avon and Somerset Police, Trading Standards, ELSPA (the Entertainment&Leisure Publishers Association) undercover investigators and representatives of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which revealed that Boulter had a room dedicated to copying games, film, music and pornography.
Several computers and copying equipment was seized, as well as over 2300 copied discs including PlayStation®2 and Xbox® games, feature films, music and pornographic films. In addition, nearly 500 blank DVD-R discs and 173 copied inlays were removed.
The legitimate market value of the detained games, films and music is estimated to be in excess of£50,000.
Forensic examination of his computer established that Boulter was copying in response to orders that were being regularly placed with him by friends and contacts. During interview Boulter claimed that he did the copying as a hobby and gave the discs to friends and family at no cost despite the fact that it was costing him to do so. However, evidence retrieved from his computer clearly demonstrated that he was receiving payment for his efforts.
The maximum penalty upon conviction for offences under the Trade Marks Act is an unlimited fine and/or up to 10 years imprisonment.
In passing sentence, Judge Darwall-Smith commented that Boulter’s operation was a large commercial venture and that his illegal use of trademarks debases the industries affected.
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA, said:“ I congratulate South Gloucestershire Trading Standards and local Police for successfully shutting down Gary Boulter’s criminal operation. ELSPA would like to thank the efforts of everyone concerned in their attempts to protect legitimate local traders and remove illegal products from the marketplace.”
Neil Derrick, Senior Enforcement Officer for South Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said:“ Mr Boulter has been dealt with severely by the court and this should stand as a stern warning to others who are tempted to engage in this type of activity. He has not only lost his liberty, but now also has to pay significant sums of money in costs and under the confiscation order, as well as having all of his discs and associated equipment forfeited. He 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.”
About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com
ELSPA (The Entertainment&Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.
ELSPA’s activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at http://www.elspa.com.
About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.
ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately£540 million.
Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.
The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware.
Counterfeited/pirated games are often mixed with obscene or pornographic material.
Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.
Proven links exist between many organised counterfeiting organisations and dealers in drugs and pornography.
For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Tom Sargent/Stuart Taylor
Tel: 01462 456780
Fax: 01462 456781
Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper’s Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW