Bootleg DVD operations offering permanent, commercial-free copies of TV shows have been around longer than commercial TV on DVD itself. Pirates tape the shows like The Wonder Years, Batman ’66, and other programs that the studios cannot or will not provide, edit out the commercials, and sell them to people at huge markups and huge profits.
Yesterday, though, Canadian police took down one of the biggest bootleg DVD manufacturers in the world. Operating under dozens of different names in a huge number of countries, these people have been cranking out tens of thousands of discs a week and racking up millions of dollars in sales.
It’s not hard to imagine how such profits could add up quickly when you consider that fans are often paying full retail prices for something that costs the bootleggers $5 or less to crank out. It’s not just about that, though; bootleg DVDs of this sort are also responsible for keeping better quality products off of store shelves. For niche programming that has merely been ignored by legitimate content providers, and not music-licensing nightmares like The Wonder Years, it’s operations like this that undercut the ability of companies like Shout Factory to license them profitably.
I’m pretty sure I’ve known about this particular operation pretty much since they began operating, and if these are indeed the same people who I’ve been watching for years, this case has been through the hands of a lot of different law enforcement officials for at least half a decade. It’s good to finally see them go down, but there are hundreds more just like them operating with impunity.
Worried that the discs you bought, or are thinking about buying aren’t legit? TV Shows on DVD has a great tool that will allow you to check a website name against a list of known bootleggers. Failing that, on foreign titles (like the non-North America releases of Prison Break), check sites in the country of origin, especially Amazon, which should give you a pretty good idea of whether what you’re buying is on the up and up.
Check out more info, and a TV report, at the source link.
Via: [Global News Toronto]