Three arrests made.

Following a two-week surveillance operation, Malaysian officials on Oct. 12 raided two premises in Penang that were linked to four pirate Web sites, arresting three suspects.

Motion Picture Assn. specialists in Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles and Sydney had been investigating the Web sites. Malaysian Web sites typically sell pirate discs for $5-$9 per disc, with TV series box sets selling for $30–$40. The raids produced evidence suggesting that the operators had raked in tens of thousands of dollars per month from the shipment of pirated optical discs to customers in the United States, South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Malaysia is a significant exporter of pirate optical discs around the world, with pirate exporters increasingly marketing and selling their illegal goods via Web sites -- some hosted remotely in other countries -- according to the MPA. In response to the shift by pirates to this model, the country’s law enforcement agencies have stepped up efforts to intercept outbound parcels containing pirated optical discs, seizing 4,944 parcels containing 19,776 pirated DVDs just from Sept. 8 through Oct. 12.

The MPA is working closely with Malaysian law enforcement agencies to identify and shut down pirate Web sites hosted in the country. Over the past seven months, 10 sites selling pirated discs globally have been raided and shut down in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Penang, and the owners prosecuted. At one of the raided premises, more than 274,000 pirate discs were seized. Another site was offering more than 5,500 TV and movie titles, equivalent to the number of titles available in the largest retail outlet in Kuala Lumpur.

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