17th January, 2012 - London, United Kingdom – Games and interactive entertainment trade body, UKIE, is delighted with jail sentences for two major games pirates. Richard Howell, a 39 year old man from Brynmawr, South Wales and Scott Cooke, a 36 year old man from Rhyl, North Wales have received jail sentences at Cardiff and Chester Crown Courts.
Howell sold R4 game copier cards (circumvention devices) as well as supplying illegally copied DS games. He was raided by Blaenau Gwent Trading Standards Officers, accompanied by a UKIE Investigator, and over 200 copied games discs and a quantity of R4 cards were seized, along with 1,840 game files on his computer. Howell was sentenced to 9 months in prison, half the sentence in jail and half in Community Service. A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation hearing date has now been set to assess the criminal gain from his activities.
Cooke was found at a car boot sale in Rhyl operating a stall, again selling hundreds of illegally copied DS games discs as well as R4 cards loaded with copied games. Denbighshire Trading Standards Officers, supported by a UKIE Investigator, made a test purchase and later raided his home address. Again, a computer was seized as well as copied discs, R4 cards and hundreds of master games files.
Cooke was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 300 hours of unpaid work in the Community and ordered to obey a 3 month curfew. In sentencing him, Judge Parry said that the sentence took into account that Cooke was the sole carer for his 14 year old daughter, otherwise he would not have suspended the sentence. He went on to say that these are serious offences and that legitimate businesses lose profit, employees lose jobs and people are conned from such crimes. As over £100,000 was involved in this criminal activity, a POCA confiscation hearing date has been set.
UKIE CEO, Jo Twist said, “Those who make and sell fake copies of games are profiting illegally from other people’s hard work and adding no value to the UK’s leading creative industry. UKIE has always been dedicated to fighting the illegal copying of games, through raiding producers of illegal physical copies or through our online infringement investigations. UKIE’s IP Crime Unit will continue to combat intellectual property theft on behalf of the wider industry.”
David Yarnton, General Manager Nintendo UK said, "Nintendo is pleased that in passing these sentences the courts have recognised the level of damage caused by piracy to the local games industry and that these activities are not a victimless crime. We hope that these strong penalties will act as a deterrent to others who are dealing in these devices or who are considering in doing so in the future."
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The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment or UKIE is a trade body that represents the whole of the UK’s video games and wider interactive entertainment industry. Founded in 1989 (and formerly known as ELSPA), UKIE’s membership includes games publishers, developers and the academic institutions that support the industry.
UKIE works with government to champion a range of issues including age ratings, education and skills, tax incentives and protecting intellectual property rights. It also works with the media to ensure true and accurate representation of the sector by raising awareness of the industry’s positive economic contribution and the societal benefits of gaming to policy makers, regulators and consumers.
One of UKIE’s key roles is to support its members by providing them with key market information, promoting careers and offering the business support services, training and best-practice knowledge to enable them to operate most effectively.
In addition, UKIE works with GfK Chart-Track to compile weekly, monthly and annual retail charts and sales reports for the UK market.