Friday 16th January/... A husband and wife team have been sentenced to seven months in prison having been found guilty of running an illegal DVD and CD copying operation in Durham. In the first successful prosecution of 2009 for such offences, the couple denied selling counterfeit goods on August 21, 2007, but were found guilty at the end of the trial. Graeme Shead, 39 and his 43-year-old wife, Sharon Shead, of Seventh Street, Horden, Durham, appeared before Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday January 13 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 Durham Trading Standards.
Following undercover surveillance at local markets in the Durham area, conducted by officers from Durham Trading Standards Department as well as investigators from ELSPA (the Entertainment&Leisure Publishers Association), video footage evidence was recorded of the couple selling counterfeit goods at local markets.
On August 21 2007, a search warrant was obtained and a raid subsequently executed by Trading Standards, ELSPA officers and local Police at the premises of Graeme and Sharon Shead, which they shared with two children. During the raid, approximately 130 counterfeit computer games were seized along with additional pirated DVDs, CDs and computer equipment– including a copying tower.
The maximum penalty upon conviction for offences under the Trade Marks Act is an unlimited fine and/or up to 10 years imprisonment.
Graeme and Sharon Shead were charged with possession of counterfeit discs in the control of a business on August 23, 2007. At the end of the trial, Graeme Shead was jailed for 12 weeks and his wife Sharon for 16 weeks.
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA, said:“I would like to thank Durham Trading Standards and local Police for successfully shutting down this 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. In 2009 our team in the Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU) is stepping up its fight against counterfeiters stealing game software and other intellectual property rights of our members. Increasingly sophisticated tracking techniques are making it harder than ever for these thieves to avoid detection.”
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.
ELPA’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.
For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Sarah Hartland/Gary Burns
Tel: 01462 456780
Fax: 01462 456781
Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper’s Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW