The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) said Nov. 18 that it is cracking down on pirates who sell illegal copies of movies on Internet auction sites.

SYDNEY (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) said Nov. 18 that it is cracking down on pirates who sell illegal copies of movies on Internet auction sites.

In an AFACT investigation referred to police, a man was fined A$10,000 ($7,830) plus court costs by Newcastle Court after pleading guilty to five counts of selling pirate DVDs on eBay.

AFACT also said it had resolved three cases through civil action on behalf of its members Village Roadshow, Buena Vista, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. The anti-piracy group issued 10 more cease-and-desist letters to people trading in illegal DVD movies on Internet auction sites the week of Nov. 15.

In 2003, piracy over such auction sites as eBay, Stuff and Aussiebids accounted for more than one-fifth of all piracy online, according to AFACT.

On April 13, the organization announced that its new Tactics for Auction Piracy (TAP) program would bring civil actions against online auction sellers found to be selling pirated DVDs.

AFACT says that in conjunction with TAP, it worked with eBay, Stuff and AussieBids to identify and remove auctions offering illegal DVD movies.

AFACT claims that it has identified more than 100 auctions per month over the last six months involving the attempted sale of illegal copies of movies. As a result of investigative and enforcement activity, the volume of discs being traded has dropped 50%.