back to article Raids net police £1m in pirate game and movie discs

UK police have raided a factory in the West Midlands where pirate films, games and music – with an estimated street value of £1m – were produced. Police found 30,000 illegally copied discs at the factory, which is in the Brierley Hill area. These ranged from copies of teen flick High School Musical 3 to Will Smith’s moody …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy way to put these people out of business:

    Drop the prices down to something sane.

  2. Mark

    See, THIS is piracy

    Commercial exploitation of someone else's copyrighted works for monetary gain.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Once again the police show that they have no idea what "street" value actually is and that they are far too busy trying to get into the papers.

    A pirate game/dvd will generally set you back (at most) a fiver.

    So they infact netted £150,000 of pirate game and movie disks.

  4. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Down

    Numbers pulled out of thin air.

    It'd be good if El Reg stopped quoting these numbers pulled out of thin air. £1m street value? from 30,000 pirate disks? How much do pirate DVDs and games go for? no more than £5-£10 each. So we're talking a street value at MOST of £300,000

    Unless the disks were made out of cocaine, or something.

    It'd be nice to see El Reg smacking down some of these dumbass antipiracy statistics and estimations of loss now and then.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Ian

    Amateur operation?

    This raid strikes me as particularly interesting because the nature of the equipment suggests it was a very amateur operation using classic DVD burners attached to PCs rather than actual DVD duplicator machines.

    I don't believe copyright infringement is a crime that is treated fairly when it comes to P2P. I do however think commercial copyright infringement is a crime that does need to be dealt with because whilst P2P very likely doesn't deprive companies of a sale because people almost certainly wouldn't have paid for the item anyway most of the time, commercial copyright infringement does deprive a company of a sale because by it's commercial nature buyers were clearly willing to pay at least something towards it. P2P doesn't let anyone profit off other people's hard work, commercial copyright infringement does.

    All that said, I do not think these people were related to organised crime judging by the amateur nature of the operation so I sincerely hope this case is treated with common sense- that of a typical white collar fraud style case of the same value rather than a more heavy handed approach as has been used in the past and a punishment that is often worse than you would get for rape and murder.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Surely "yow want DVD", no?

    DVD-R man R, kidda.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Estimated street value of £1m...

    ...for 30,000 films/games?

    £35 each for a pirated copy? Who are they kidding?

    If they mean that the factory had, in total, produced £1m worth of stuff, how did they get that estimate? I doubt the pirates had sales graphs on the wall!

  9. Martin

    Hull too.

    25,000 DVDs 125,000 disks and 12 people arrested.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Aren't mod-chips legal again?

    Wasn't Sony's case on mod-chips in the UK recently overturned resulting in mod-chips being legal again? If that's the case then it shouldn't matter if the cops found 1 mod-chip or 1000.

  11. Steve Poll
    Thumb Down


    30,000 disks - Street Value £1,000,000 = £33.33 per disk

    Who in any state of mind would pay that for a dodgy dvd

  12. Adam Targett

    £1 Million

    Does anyone know how they work out the value of this stuff? Is it the amount they would get if they sold all the stock at full high street price? or if they sold it at whatever the going rate is for pirate DVDs?

    Either value is optimistic Hancock was awful, they were never gonna sell many of them.

  13. Edmund Cramp Silver badge

    "estimated street value of £1m"

    30,000 disks with an estimated street value of £1m works out at about 33 quid each - it must have been a high class operation ... with no discounting - it's so nice to see that even the crims sticking to the manufacturers recommended pricing particularly given the economy these days.

    How about doing so real reporting and not just parroting the police report?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Raids net police £1m in pirate game and movie discs

    Hmmm, a street value of £1m. I assume they used the same valuation techniques the drugs squad generally use when estimating the "street value" of seized drugs.

    Paris, because her value is over-estimated too.

  15. Martin

    Another blow to Midlands manufacturing...

    Seriously, we need all the working factories we can get at the moment...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do the police get a cut of assets?

    I read the police get a cut of any seized goods that are later resold, which is why they're told to try to seize as many cars as possible on the traffic offences to bolster their budgets (told to me by a UK rozzer no less, but I can hardly believe it, it would be a staggering conflict of interest there, only a moron would implement such a thing).

    If those PCs are seized then sold on, do the police get a cut?

  17. Leigh Smith


    I guess anyone who knows a copper in the Dudley has Xmas sorted.

  18. Dave

    @Jolyon Ralph & AC

    "Street Value" is the cost of the item AS SOLD ON THE HIGH STREET!!! It is NOT the price the pirated material would be sold at.

    Let's illustrate this with an example:

    Say "Hancock" is £19.99 on the high street (in Woolies or HMV etc) then 21,000 * 19.99 (there were 9000 games so only 21000 disks were DVDs) gives you the estimated "Street Value" which is ~420K.

    Same goes for games. If all the games were £34.99 (assuming PC games and release) then 9000 * 34.99 gives you: ~315K

    In total there was probably around 735Ks worth of stuff IF it were genuine material*.

    This does beg the question of how they got to a million... well I suppose you can round 7 to 10 ;)

    * I am of course assuming that all the DVDs were the same title, price etc and that the games were the same. Though to get a million ALL disks would need to be at least 33quid. Ho hum.

    ** Of course this assumes that people would actively BUY High School Musical 3... surely it should be melted into scrap instead?

  19. Mike

    Don't forget.....

    If they mean "the equivalent street value of the genuine article" then £1m is not too far off (some games being up to £50), but this is just a snapshot, an instant in time, how much money has gone through their hands? in *theory* they could burn ~400 disks an hour, imagine a 24 hour production line with printing at the same speed as burning (10,000 a day?), even at a tenth of that and a fiver a disk it's still £35k a week, approaching £2m a year.

    Also, how can you but that many blank disks without raising suspicsion, I wonder if wholesalers are obliged to tip off the police about such things (i.e. a non commercial/not VAT registered outfit buying a *lot* of disks, continuous ink, disk cases, photo paper)

  20. Tony


    '"Street Value" is the cost of the item AS SOLD ON THE HIGH STREET!!! It is NOT the price the pirated material would be sold at.'

    Absolute tosh. By that definition if I painted a second rate copy of the Mona Lisa and police raided my house they could say that they 'siezed paintings with a street value of millions of pounds'.

    Street value is the actual value of the goods siezed if they had reached the street and been sold end of story.

  21. David


    No it fucking isn't.

    Street value is the price that they would get for the gear on the street. Not the price that legit copies of the originals fetch in the shops. As the simple sums done by other posters show, this latter price is the one that was used to get to 1m.

    Hear, hear on El reg doing some thinking occasionally and not just cutting and pasting police press releases.

    (Another) Dave.

  22. dreadful scathe

    @ Dave

    ""Street Value" is the cost of the item AS SOLD ON THE HIGH STREET!!!"

    well thats just stupid - you can't buy pirated DVDs on the high street, you only get packaged originals. Hmm, basically you are suggesting that "street price" is the cost for items that do not actually exist. Why include such a figure ? It serves no purpose other than to make it sound like more money is at stake!

    And this "street price", is it a pre-credit crunch "street price"? cos that'd be different to the now dicounted mid-credit crunch "street price" ;)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ' "Street Value" is the cost of the item AS SOLD ON THE HIGH STREET!!! It is NOT the price the pirated material would be sold at. '

    So how do they calculate the street value of items not sold on the high street, like heroine and ecstasy?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    net equivalent?

    Perhaps reports should state retail net equivalent prices?

    But in all honestly does one expect the police or security people to quote the stolen sale price or honest sale price?

    It highlights that retailers are also the victims in pirated trade.

  25. Mark

    re: Don't forget.....

    WE didn't forget. That was the reason and the excuse behind the hugely inflated statutory penalties for copyright infringement. It wasn't for someone sharing for free 24 songs so it should be punished $150,000 x 24, it was for seeing a warehouse mostly empty apart from a few unshifted copies.

    But the copyright cartels "forgot" the reason for the statutory damages and applied them where the excuse for making them doesn't work.

    WE didn't forget. THEY did.

  26. Steve Sutton

    Street value

    Let's see:-

    street value

    The street value of a drug is the price that is paid for it when it is sold illegally to drug users.

    (Replace "drug" with "pirated disc" in the above definition. Note that it is the price that *is* paid, not *would be* paid)

    Or maybe:-

    Main Entry: street value

    Part of Speech: n

    Definition: the price of a commodity if sold illicitly, esp. drugs

    If you haven't yet died of bordom, try some of these:-"street+value"+definition

  27. Shaun

    Street value

    Based on 9,000 games at an RRP of £50 (as is usually the case nowadays), that's £450,000 for the games

    The remaining 21,000 discs are worth a combined £550,000.

    Simple maths concludes that the remaining discs are £21.43 each.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Street Value

    Clearly a simple case of buggered up jargon. These games etc had a Retail Value estimated, plausibly, at 1M. Street value more like 150K.

  29. Brezin Bardout

    re net eqivalent?

    "But in all honestly does one expect the police or security people to quote the stolen sale price or honest sale price?"

    Leaving aside the fact that nothing was actually stolen, I do expect the police or security people to actually give a value that reflects the actual values involved and not a value that makes a good headline. Otherwise, it calls into question their honesty. If they are willing to mislead the public in this way, then in what other ways are they willing to mislead us?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dave

    In case you don't feel stupid enough, I'll add to the taunting by saying you're an idiot if you think that the 'street value' refers to the price paid for the genuine article.

    You weren't responsible for coming up with the £1M valuation, were you?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stree value *again*

    Since they're daftly using the MSRP to calculate the value of the products, I can provide a valuable service to the BSA and other statistics-warping organizations: I will create a small computer game that some people like, and sell it for $10,000,000. Then I'll leak it to some newsgroups.

    Then, when the authorities find it on some pirate CD, they can show the gargantuan damages the pirates have caused me!

  32. James O'Brien

    Have a problem with this article

    "Police found 30,000 illegally copied discs at the factory, which is in the Brierley Hill area. These ranged from copies of teen flick High School Musical 3 to Will Smith’s moody superhero film Hancock."

    Exhibit 1: Titles mentioned of said movies.

    "Around 9000 of the copied discs found were games, although police haven’t named any specific titles that were found in the haul."

    Exhibit 2: Police not naming specific titles that were found.

    Please explain how we have titles when no titles were mentioned because if the lack of titles mentioned somehow included said titles then how do we know the names of the titles of some that were found to have been copied?

    @Estimated street value of £1m...

    "I doubt the pirates had sales graphs on the wall!"

    Bob. I want you to notice that over the last 5 months sales have gone up, up, UP and investing now is a great time to get in. Hold on please, (whats that Sharon the cops are here? Raiding the place? Ok thank you.) now would be a REALLY good time to invest infact I can guarantee you 50% of the funds in the bank if I can just get some personal information so that it can be released...

    /mines the one with the HDD in the pocket that DOESNT have Hancock on it.

  33. Michael

    @Jolyon Ralph

    I would'nt joke about the cd's being " made of cocaine , or something"

  34. Matt Semper

    £1,000,000!!! (there is a title damnit)

    It does seem like an outrageously and unjustifiably high number. Obviously they fudge the estimate as much as they can so it sounds like a bigger bust. I think they justify their valuation (though it still wouldn't get them quite to a million) by assuming that the pirate copies would be old as forgeries, passed off as the real thing, thus at almost retail price.

    of course we know that that simply isn't the case, you know dodgy discs when you see them, even when they put them in nice dvd cases (tho in my experience they use slimline cases) with labels printed on shiny paper and discs printed on. The stall at the carboot sale with thousands of copies of popular titles, and offers like3 for £10 are usually a dead giveaway.

    But they love their disinformation, like how they make out that all pirate copies are bad quality, yes if you buy a movie the day it comes out in the cinema it's likely to be a CAM and pretty damn awful, but by the time the retail DVD is out, there will be dvd copies or dvd rips available which look just as good, you can get HD rips which mean you don't need a Blu-ray drive to play them, and often months before the DVD release you can get Telecines, R5s, Screeners etc. And of course copies of music and games will be bit for bit identical.

    I'm not advocating piracy but I don't think their lies are any better, and shame on el reg for printing their propaganda.

  35. Gildas

    Can't you lot read?

    At no point does the article actually say that plod found discs worth £1m. It says they found 30,000 discs and that they were found at a place "where pirate films, games and music – with an estimated street value of £1m – were produced." sic.

    That £1m is more than likely an estimate of the street value of the forged goods that plod think were made at the facility since it was set up, or in recent weeks, or according to any indications of production qty they found at the place (blank disc containers etc) - i.e. they found 30,000 discs but reckon another 170,000 may have already gone out of the door: 200,000 x £5 = £1m.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Can't you lot read?

    It is always reasonable to be suspicious of police / copyright holder estimates of losses. They have form.

    But this comment thread is taking a distinctly silly turn. So thank-you, Gildas, for pointing out the bleeding obvious.

  37. Adam White

    RE: Amateur operation?

    Actually Ian, some people do make money thanks to P2P - Internet Service Providers.

  38. Craig
    Thumb Down


    1 Mil eh!.

    One again over valued and I tell you what, if they are taking cut for selling the hardware then surely that's illegal becuase if it isn't then I can envisage an increase in random busts in the new year.

    We all know that anything run by the goverment is always over budget (trust me i've worked for them), full of liars and run by people who abuse the law are of course, illegal immigrants!!!!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Matt Semper

    Shame on you Matt, don't you know pirate DVD sales fund terrorism, drug dealing, kiddy fiddling, the downfall of western civilisation and hurts retailers as well (BTW, does anyone else feel ashamed of nicking sweets from the pick n mix at Woolies now? Yes, you, you helped put 32,000 people on the dole!).

    It's all true and not propaganda, honest.

    Paris, excellent quality films, even on pirated DVD.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've never understood why the big companies are so against piracy yet the continue to happily manufacture CD / DVD duplicators.

  41. Scott Mckenzie


    Funniest comment i've read on here!!!

    Pirate discs are a lot cheaper than a fiver in Brierley Hill too!

  42. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Re: Can't you lot read?

    So if the 1m is not about just the 30,000 discs found, how do they know how many disks were sold before they got there?

    Paris would like to know.

    We'd both like to know how that was "the bleeding obvious" too.

  43. Svein Skogen

    If they add "applications" to the material

    Getting to that million isn't that hard. Add application disks like "Creative Suite, Master Collection", and you are on route.


  44. Shakje

    @David Wiernicki

    That would be idiotic. You should just sue anyone who downloaded it for a lost sale..

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