Friday 13th March/... A local market trader from Hull has been sentenced to twelve months in prison having been found guilty of selling and distributing counterfeit gaming discs for the PlayStation®2, PlayStation® Portable, Microsoft® Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii™ and PC at Walton Street Market, Hull.
Paul Richard Thornill, 36, appeared before Judge Mettyear at Hull Crown Court on Wednesday March 11 for sentencing for offences under the Trade Marks Act (1994) and the Video Recordings Act (1985) following a prosecution brought by Hull Trading Standards, local police and ELSPA, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Association. The prison sentence was handed down almost a year to the day after Thornhill’s arrest in 2008.
Following Thornhill’s arrest at Walton Street Market on Sunday March 9, 2008, a police search of Thornhill’s home in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire resulted in a haul of more than 1,500 illegal game discs on various formats. In addition to£3,000 cash he had at the time of arrest, a further£800 was found hidden in a cooker hood at his home. A further£2,000 was also found in a safe at the home of his mother-in-law.
Evidence discovered on Thornhill’s hard-drive, along with details of historical transactions, produced sufficient evidence to convict the criminal. The approximate loss in value to the country’s video game industry was estimated to be more than£44,000.
Michael Rawlinson, Director General of ELSPA, said:“ELSPA would like to thank all involved for bringing this case to a successful conclusion. Our investigations will continue to monitor the markets and work closely with our Trading Standards partners in stamping out counterfeiting here.
“The simple facts about IP theft and piracy are that they are illegal acts. No matter which way you look at counterfeiting it is nothing more than theft. The public may think they are getting a bargain buying pirated games but it is invariably a false economy as they have no recourse under law for faulty goods.”
A Humberside Police spokesman, said:“Counterfeit goods cost the music, film and games industry millions of pounds each year and it will not be tolerated in Hull.
“Police will continue to work with partner agencies to bring offenders to justice”
“The public are urged not to buy counterfeit goods as it supports an illegal trade that puts many people’s jobs at risk within retail and the entertainment industries.”
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.
ELSPA’s IPCU (Intellectual Property Crime Unit) includes a team of investigators around the country. Software Piracy has a negative impact on both consumers and industry. ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately£600 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. 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