Mounties Manhandle Montreal Piracy Ring

Dennis Faas's picture

The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) aren't the only bloodhounds sniffing out piracy on the continent. A major Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raid recently led to the confiscation of thousands of DVDs, plus the arrest of eight Montreal residents.

According to reports from CTV, police in the Quebec city were able to seize thousands of DVDs and about 200 'burners' in a pair of raids now being referred to collectively as "Operation Copyright". Although the piracy ring's headquarters were firmly entrenched in jazz and hockey-mad Montreal, most customers, not so surprisingly, hail from south of the border.

According to the RCMP, the pirates had enough resources available to burn about 14,000 DVDs in a single day. (Source:

The RCMP's work on this case goes all the way back to February, when it began its investigation at the request of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA), a group that could be considered Canada's version of the MPAA. The CMPDA says that bootleggers now cost the movie industry about $6 billion USD every year. Sales of pirated movies in Canada comprise about 20% of all camcorded movies, or those shot with amateur equipment in the average commercial movie theater. (Source:

The suspects should expect some very heavy fines. A few months ago, single American mother Jammie Thomas was nailed for over $200,000 by the RIAA; under Canada's Copyright Act, prosecutors could hold these eight pirates accountable to $1 million in penalties and five years in prison.

Despite the lofty cost for those accused of piracy, buyers are left off rather easy. In fact, it is not considered a criminal offense to own a pirated DVD.

According to the authorities, everyone loses when it comes to piracy. In a recent study, the MPAA found that the offense cost the Canadian film industry well over $200 million USD, and the Canadian government $34 million USD each year.

Thank heavens the Canadian dollar is so high right now, eh?

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