The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Federal Enforcement Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has partnered with the Toronto Police Service in a joint investigation, Project OSTINGER, of alleged Copyright Act infringement activities. Ten search warrants have been executed at businesses operating at the Oriental Centre, located in Scarborough.
The police and the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA) have received numerous complaints that thousands of pirated copies of new North American titled movies were being sold at multiple businesses within the mall on a daily basis, including movies which are currently playing in theaters. It is alleged that pirated copies are being manufactured, distributed and offered for a sale amount of $3.00 each and 8 movies for $20.00. The legitimate sale price should be between $20 and $30 each.
Investigators worked in close partnership with the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association in this investigation. “DVD counterfeiting hurts legitimate Canadian businesses, including film distributors, theatre owners, retails, film rental businesses and the Canadians employed by them,” said Marc Proulx, the CMPDA’s Director of Content Protection for North America – Canada. “Enforcement efforts by the film industry and police have removed hundreds of thousands of counterfeit DVDs from circulation. We’ve found that the real success has been in effective and coordinated law enforcement, as demonstrated today by the RCMP and the Toronto Police Service’s 42 Division.”
“Piracy is a widespread problem not only in the GTA and North America, but worldwide, especially during peak shopping periods such as seasonal holiday celebrations. Legitimate businesses and the Canadian economy are adversely impacted by this type of Intellectual Property Crime” says Inspector Todd Gilmore, Officer in Charge of the GTA Federal Enforcement Section.
Staff Sergeant David Rydzik of 42 Division Toronto Police Service said police have seized thousands of counterfeit DVDs and have laid over 30 charges in a year long operation. “We take this kind of criminal activity very seriously, and we intend to pursue vigorously those who break the law,” added Rydzik.
The investigation is ongoing and charges of Fraud, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime and Copyright Act offenses are anticipated.