Picture Association of America (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture industry. On behalf of its member companies, the MPAA directs a comprehensive anti-piracy program. Begun in the U.S. in 1975, the
program has several objectives: to strengthen industry security measures, to strengthen existing copyright protection through legislative activity, to assist local governments in the investigation and prosecution of piracy cases, and to provide technical support in the criminal and civil litigation generated by such investigations.
The most prevalent form of piracy in the U.S. is the "back-to-back" copying of videos. In some cases, video retailers purchase one or two genuine cassettes from an authorized distributor and then duplicate copies by hooking up one VCR to another. However, video piracy is becoming more organized and more sophisticated as pirates utilize illicit duplicating facilities. These facilities are capable of producing hundreds of thousands of videocassette copies each year. These illegal videos are then distributed to retailers, flea markets, street vendors and swap meets nationwide. It is estimated that 10 percent of the 25,000 to 35,000 video retail outlets in the United States deal in pirate videocassettes, costing the motion picture companies more than $250 million annually in lost revenues. Worldwide, video piracy costs the American motion picture companies $2.5 billion a year in lost revenues.
|Since 1995, the MPAA has assisted law enforcement in more than 3,000 raids, resulting in the seizure of approximately 1. 1 million pirate video cassettes, worth more than $62 million at retail. In 1995 the MPAA placed a special emphasis on finding
and dismantling the illegal duplication operations responsible for producing pirate videos. This emphasis has paid off as 6,163 VCRs have been seized since 1995.
In June of 1996, the largest ever video piracy operation in the United states was dismantled in New York. The nationwide conterfeit business sold more than 100,000 pirate videos a week, grossing approximately $500,000. The economic impact on MPAA member companies is estimated to be more than $87 million a year. The investigation, dubbed "Operation Copy Cat", culminated when search warrants were executed by the New York City Police Department, assisted by the MPAA, on 17 locations, including four labs. Authorities arrested 36 people and seized 817 VCRs, 77,641 pirate videos, $40,000 in cash, 37,000 blank cassettes, more than 100,000 sleeves, labels and other sophisticated equipment used in the duplicating process.