LONDON — British authorities on Feb. 22 sentenced a leading distributor of counterfeit Bollywood DVDs to three years in jail.
Jayanti Amarishi Buhecha of Cambridge was found guilty last month in Harrow Crown Court of two trademark offenses. His arrest and subsequent prosecution followed a two-year probe by the British Phonographic Industry and Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Department.
Buhecha’s Bollywood film operation, which traded under the name Arts 2000, imported DVDs into the United Kingdom from Pakistan and Malaysia between 2002 and 2003. The illicit titles were sold wholesale to stores in London and the Midlands, generating sums of up to £26,000 ($49,000) each month, according to investigators.
Buhecha had once worked legitimately in the Indian film industry by arranging screenings of Indian films for his local community before acting as an authorized distributor of DVDs and videos for Asian film company Yash Raj Films.
In sentencing at the Harrow Crown Court, Judge Madge told Buhecha he was one of the “biggest Bollywood pirates in the U.K.” and that “a heavy penalty was called for because of the enormous damage he caused to legitimate business.”
According to the BPI, the Bollywood music and film piracy rate is well above that of mainstream music and film, at 40%.