Media suck up FACT spin on drug-dealing movie pirates

, posted: 5-Aug-2006 09:22

C60, C90, C120 Go!The Federation Against Copyright Theft in New Zealand (NZFACT) is in the spotlight again, this time in a New Zealand Herald piece that says bikie gangs like the Mongrel Mob and Black Power are distributing pirated films.

The Herald quotes director of operations Tony Eaton of the NZFACT as having found evidence that the gangs are doing "combo deals"; for $30, you get a small amount of cannabis wrapped in tinfoil (tinnie) and a regular DVD. Another $5 gets you a porno DVD to go with the drugs.

Unfortunately however, it seems the Herald reporter didn't investigate what Eaton said. There's no confirmation from the police or any independent evidence that the bikie gangs in question - and Eaton refused to name them - are actually involved in making and distributing pirated films.

Criminal activities are obviously wrong, but shouldn't the country's largest newspaper try at least to get both sides of the story before accusing anyone? If it is true that the gangs are doing "combo deals", a bit of journalistic endeavour to ascertain facts would've made the story much better.

It didn't take very long at all to find Tony Eaton's speech (warning: link goes to a Word document) at the American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand. It was part of the AmCham's Trade Forum event and held at.... May 17 this year, or about two and a half months ago.

In the speech, Eaton says:
Organised Crime Involvement. Australia in the last five years have shown that organised crime is occurring mainly through the Asian Gangs and involving children as young as 7 selling DVDs in the markets. New Zealand in the last 6 months with assistance and information and guidance from NZFACT has lifted the profile of the Copyright Act and has know shown that Bike gangs are now involved. NZ Police have found that youths are selling a cannabis tinnie for $20 and then for $30 a Cannabis tinnie and a current DVD or for $35 a cannabis joint and an adult movie for $35. This is also keeping the youth busy when not selling drugs he is making and copying movies for sale. better use of time

That's a bit juicier than the Herald story, isn't it?

Eaton mentions "burner labs", which seems a reference to methamphetamine and other drugs "labs", but are just home computers with a DVD writer. These burner labs can make up to twenty copies of a DVD, he says.

The Internet is a worry for NZFACT. It now takes 90 minutes to download a movie, but in five years this will drop to 15 minutes. Eaton is wildly optimistic about New Zealand broadband speeds increasing, clearly.

It is a war, Eaton says in his speech, and one that'll be won through education. Unfortunately though, teaching people about piracy takes three generations (!) Eaton says, but NZFACT is piggybacking on its Australian counterpart for completing an AustralAsian education programme. He doesn't say if the public will be made to attend that education programme however.

More disconcerting are the sniffer dogs. Apparently, UKFACT and MPAA have two dogs already, trained to sniff out "polycarbon, the main ingredient for making a DVD". Presumably the idea is that the various FACT organisations would station sniffer dogs at airports and other ports of entry, to check luggage and consignments for DVDs. Again, we have clear parallels with the drug trade.

To drive home the seriousness of the situation, Eaton tells the AmCham that "this organisation cannot afford to lose 6.1 billion dollars that we lost in revenue last year".

That figure comes from the MPAA, and is said to be the lost revenue worldwide due to piracy - not just new Zealand.

Eaton says that he wants the public on side with FACT and to understand that movie piracy is a crime; he also makes it clear that NZFACT is the protector of the New Zealand film industry:

Finally we need to protect the next Peter Jackson otherwise there will be no more Siones [sic] Wedding, River Queen Movies.


Other related posts:
Over 1,000,000 torrents of downloadable books, music and movies
Megaupload and the US grand jury
Filesonic disables file sharing; due to MegaUpload?

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