Three men arrested.

Nearly half a million pirated movie DVD-Rs and music CD-Rs were seized in two Indonesian raids, the Motion Picture Assn. reported yesterday (July 10).

On June 20 and June 26, acting on information generated during previous antipiracy operations, officers from the Special Economic Crimes Division (Krimsus) of the Jakarta Metropolitan Police raided two premises in the Tangerang area of Jakarta. They arrested three men and seized 165 DVD burners, 384 stampers used to make copies of individual titles, and 434,050 pirated movie DVD-Rs and music CD-Rs.

The seized burners are estimated to have been capable of producing nearly 40 million pirated optical discs in one year. Under Indonesia’s copyright law, the suspects face maximum sentences of up to five years imprisonment and/or fines of 1.5 billion rupiah ($158,000), and police say they are optimistic that the courts will hand down stiff sentences.

On June 1, Jakarta police seized a record 140 DVD-R burners from a house in West Jakarta that was serving as a pirate burner lab, also seizing 53,400 pirated optical discs. Five weeks earlier, also in West Jakarta, police had seized 55 DVD-R burners and more than 300,000 pirated DVD-Rs infringing MPA member-company titles.

The June raids were part of aggressive MPA anti-piracy enforcement operations, code named Operation Red Card, focused on notorious piracy “black spots” in major cities in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

“The seizure of 360 optical disc burners by the Jakarta police during a two-month period sends a strong message to copyright pirates that Indonesia is making a strong commitment to intellectual property protection, and is determined to fight hard against the pirates who so badly damage the country’s economy and reputation,” said Mike Ellis, MPA senior VP/regional director, Asia-Pacific. “The MPA is providing support to Indonesian law enforcement and prosecution anti-piracy and intellectual property rights protection efforts and will continue to do so.”

While factory-replicated optical discs continue to account for the majority of optical discs produced by movie pirates in the Asia-Pacific region, MPA enforcement operations in 2005 confirmed that a shift is underway in many countries from large-scale production in optical disc factories using machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, to burner labs that can contain dozens of low-cost burners and are often located in apartments and small retail premises.

Both types of operation are capable of producing tens of millions of pirate DVD-Rs or CD-Rs per year, but burner labs are inexpensive and easy to set up, and if raided, easily and quickly replaceable.

By cracking down on the availability of illegally pirated movies in retail shops and markets and from street vendors during the northern hemisphere’s summer months, when many new movies are released, the MPA hopes to protect sales of cinema tickets and legitimate home video products such as DVDs, VCDs and VHS videotapes.