The Industry Trust For IP Awareness Limited
An independent examination of the facts, by Mystery Reporter X.
 

The "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited" has three "case studies" to download (Word format only. Obviously). County authorities display miraculous unity.

QUOTE

Sheffield is Identified as a Key Location for the Anti-Piracy Message
...
Phil Glaves, Sheffield Trading Standards, believes this campaign will help to send a strong message to consumers that DVD piracy is not only a rip off but is also heavily linked to organised crime.

"Although fake DVDs often appear to be a bargain, they are frequently a waste of money. These pirates are not just defrauding consumers and affecting the industry but are also helping to fund the criminal activities of serious and organised crime groups. Sheffield Trading Standards unequivicolly condemns DVD piracy and this campaign has our full backing and support."


QUOTE

Swansea is Identified as a Key Location for the Anti-Piracy Message
...
John Hague, Cabinet Member for the Environment, believes this campaign will help to send a strong message to consumers that DVD piracy is not only a rip off but is also heavily linked to organised crime.

"Although fake DVDs often appear to be a bargain, they are frequently a waste of money. These pirates are not just defrauding consumers and affecting the industry but are also helping to fund the criminal activities of serious and organised crime groups. Swansea Trading Standards unequivicolly condemns DVD piracy and this campaign has our full backing and support."

 

QUOTE

Gateshead is Identified as a Key Location for the Anti-Piracy Message
...
Gateshead Trading Standards are hoping that this campaign will deter consumers from buying counterfeit DVDs and videos at car boot sales and markets in the city. Richard Ferry, Team Leader Trading Standards, believes this campaign will help to send a strong message to consumers that DVD piracy is not only a rip off but is also heavily linked to organised crime.

"Although fake DVDs often appear to be a bargain, they are frequently a waste of money. These pirates are not just defrauding consumers but are also affecting the industry. Gateshead Trading Standards unequivicolly condemns DVD piracy and this campaign has our full backing and support."


The Word metadata (yay!) reveals that these exhaustively researched documents, painstakingly reflecting local events, were also saved with filenames for the as-yet-unseen "Glasgow" and "Leeds" media blitzes, and though credited to two people from Blueprint PR, the company hired by the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited," had a third person involved called "rebeccap" - disappointingly not the owner of Disney or something but probably the underling all the actual work gets dropped on who can't spell "unequivocally."

There's also a fun bit where the impressive headline for each independent "case study"


QUOTE

Links between DVD piracy and organised crime are highlighted today with the publication of new evidence, compiled by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited, as part of a major anti-piracy campaign that is being backed by YOUR NAME HERE! Trading Standards.


is revealed in an earlier draft to have begun


QUOTE

Proof of the links between DVD piracy and organised crime is strengthened today with the launch of a new dossier of evidence,


which was probably changed when someone realised "proof" and "dossier of evidence" suggested something official, with sources, and which hadn't been changed around in certain quite important areas, and which was proof.

There are a couple of other tricks we're going to see. The thing to remember as we go through the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited's" little list is that they are - and this is - about DVD piracy. Watch what happens to certain key words. Roll up! Roll up! All the fun of the fair!
 


What the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited" says.

There are a couple of variations in the PDFs, little extra bits that come out of nowhere, but mainly they stick to a party line of figures and cases, repeating them at every opportunity, and holding them up to justify certain conclusions (eg, DVD piracy kills babies with bombs). It's a big dot-to-dot puzzle with special shortcuts.

Let's take the Case Studies page first.


QUOTE

In line with the definition by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), all the following seizures made in the UK this year by FACT, involved organised crime groups.


Straight out of the gate, we're being told to associate DVD piracy with organised crime.

The
NCIS says

QUOTE

NCIS defines an organised crime group as satisfying all the following criteria:
- contains at least three people
- criminal activity is prolonged or indefinite
- criminals are motivated by profit or power
- serious criminal offences are being committed
This definition is consistent with the characteristics used by the Home Office and European Union.


Is piracy a "serious criminal offence"? Not according to the NCIS. They deal with a lot of bad things.

QUOTE

Drugs (Cocaine, Crack cocaine, Heroin, Precursor chemicals, Synthetic drugs)
Financial Intelligence - eg money laundering
Immigration Crime
Firearms and designated threats (Firearms intelligence, Counterfeit currency, Serious sex offenders, Kidnap and extortion, Organised vehicle crime, Football hooliganism, Football banning orders, Wildlife crime)


Serious sex offenders there, not just your run-of-the-mill ones. The only counterfeiting they bother with is funny money. Obviously these are the big boys, hard at work to catch the big crims. They're not going to waste time on people knocking out dodgy copies of The Matrix from a car boot - that's what Trading Standards is for.

Still - the point of the campaign is who's REALLY behind DVD piracy? - copying Harry Potter 3 is just a sideline to raise funds, right? Planting the seed to associate DVD piracy with organised crime in your opening paragraph ("seizures... involved organised crime groups") is a means to an end; it'll all be explained later. And presumably if you're borrowing the NCIS's name and the NCIS's definition of organised crime, you'll be extremely careful to respect the critical element in that definition of a "serious criminal offence" - which pirating DVDs, in itself, isn't.

Okay. We have that in mind. Back to the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited."


QUOTE

Counterfeit DVD production was found to be financing drug trafficking, when a seizure of counterfeit DVDs from a boot sale in East Sussex led police to raid premises at which cannabis resin and cocaine were seized with a street value of 20,000.


Pretty "unequivicol." Dodgy DVDs "found to be financing drug trafficking." Finding those DVDs "led police to raid premises."

No source supplied, but tickle the internets.

The Wealden District Police site says


QUOTE

Six arrested at car boot sale
Date published: 10/06/2004

On Sunday, 6 June, 2004, officers from the Wealden police area and officers from East Sussex Trading Standards swooped on the Cophall Farm Car Boot Fair near Polegate.

Approximately fifteen police officers and eight officers from Trading Standards took part in Operation Riverhead, which targeted those who sell stolen and counterfeit goods to unsuspecting members of the public.


So it's a raid looking for stolen goods and counterfeit stuff generally.

QUOTE

As a result of this operation, six people were arrested and in excess of 1,000 counterfeit DVD''s were seized, which, included the latest film releases such as Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban and Troy. A quantity of counterfeit goods such as sunglasses and base ball caps were also recovered, as well as a quantity of air weapons and BB guns, which could have devastating consequences if in the wrong hands.


So they've found some dodgy DVDs, along with dodgy clothing, some other stuff and what's clearly regarded by the police as the major haul, airguns and BB guns with the potential for "devastating consequences" (though whether or not the guns were counterfeit or stolen isn't mentioned).

General brief leads to general raid, which uncovers a variety of crimes.

QUOTE

Following searches of the home addresses of those arrested, officers seized drugs which they believe to be cannabis resin and cocaine with a street value of approximately 20,000 from an address in Eastbourne. Manufacturing equipment for the production of counterfeit DVD''s were recovered from houses in Hastings and Battle.


Six people arrested for a variety of crimes, standard procedure to search their houses, discovery of what police "believe to be" drugs. No link suggested by police between the alleged cocaine/cannabis and DVD counterfeiters. (In fact, this paragraph all but exonerates them - the drugs were found in Eastbourne, the dodgy DVD machines somewhere else entirely. There's no suggestion the six people are anything but working separately.)

QUOTE

Chief Inspector Rex Matthews, Wealden District Commander, who led the operation said; "We were aware that a number of prolific criminals were using unsuspecting members of the public to buy goods stolen from locations across Sussex and beyond. We were also aware of a number of people who were selling counterfeit and prohibited goods who we believed to be involved in other crimes such as dealing drugs. This has sent a clear message to those criminals that have previously viewed car boot sales as an easy way offloading hooky goods".

As we move into the summer we will be running more of these operations at various locations. The management of Cophall Farm have been extremely co-operative and clearly want to promote the type of business that only attracts genuine sellers. We will be working with the management to help them promote these values as well as developing a controlled approach to car boot sales in the Wealden District area.


The Chief Inspector there saying they had no specific information, but knew that, generally, stolen and counterfeit items were being sold. (Plus "prohibited" ones - the BB guns? Are they illegal to sell now?) He "believed" some of the crims were also dealing drugs, but doesn't mention the alleged find miles away from where the DVD copiers were discovered, so it can't be uppermost in his mind. (It's oddly out of place with the emphasis on car boot con artists. Perhaps it was thrown in to appear brilliant after the fact.) Clearly he's more interested in cleaning up the car boot sales. It's the usual semi-annual roust when the dodgy sellers get too blatant.

So. The "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited's"


QUOTE

Counterfeit DVD production was found to be financing drug trafficking, when a seizure of counterfeit DVDs from a boot sale in East Sussex led police to raid premises at which cannabis resin and cocaine were seized with a street value of 20,000.


should in fact be

QUOTE

Counterfeit, stolen and dangerous items, including dodgy DVDs, dodgy clothing and airguns, were seized at a car boot sale in East Sussex. Six individuals were arrested and their homes were searched. Police found what they believe to be a small amount of drugs in a house in Eastbourne, and DVD copying equipment was found in different premises miles away. No link whatsoever has been presented between the counterfeit DVDs and the alleged drugs.


See how this thing works?

Next paragraph.

QUOTE

Following an 18 month investigation in which FACT worked with HM Customs & Excise, a seizure was made at Heathrow Airport of parcels imported from the Far East and Pakistan, leading to a single haul of more than 23,000 counterfeit DVDs.


No source given, but tickle the internets.

Hmmm. Trickier, this one. The only exact match is, er, the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited's" own page. The nearest independently verifiable thing I could find was a news story about a man from Pakistan caught at Heathrow with a suitcase containing 2,000 copies of Lord of the Rings.

Anyone? This obviously major case ought to be easy to spot, especially as to qualify for the "Industry Trust's" little list it must have "involved organised crime groups" - so equally, to qualify for the touted NCIS definition, there must have been a "serious criminal offence" as well. Drug smuggling, perhaps? Guns? Football hooligans? Help!

(NB - watch out for apparent corroboration that's from the "Industry Trust's" own members, like the British Video Association.)

Meanwhile, next paragraph.


QUOTE

As a result of leads from the FBI, FACT was involved in an investigation into an organised crime group with bases in Northern Ireland, Sheffield and Manchester. This resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of counterfeit DVDs and manufacturing equipment, including 156 DVD burners, as well as a forged police warrant card, a counterfeit driving licence, 20 credit cards, a stun gun, an imitation firearm, various offensive weapons and 21,000 in cash. This then led to 100 search warrants being issued throughout America and Europe, demonstrating the global extent of this particular crime network.


No source, but tickle the internets.

Interesting discrepancies from, er, FACT's April 2004 activity report:


QUOTE

FACT INVOLVED IN GLOBAL OPERATION
FACT assisted in an operation, which originated from the FBI, and involved Police officers from the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit. This involved three premises being searched in Manchester, Sheffield and Northern Ireland. As a result, 7 computers, 156 burners, 6000 discs, a forged Greater Manchester Police warrant card, counterfeit driving licence, 20 credit cards, an imitation firearm, a stun gun and a mixture of offensive weapons and 21,000 in cash was seized. Three persons were arrested and bailed pending enquiries. In addition, 20 other search warrants were executed throughout Europe and 80 search warrants were executed in the United States.


The awful writing aside ("a mixture of offensive weapons and 21,000 in cash" - eh? Unless they were all carelessly tossed in the same laundry hamper or something, I suppose), some intriguing differences. Note "discs" instead of "DVDs." No mention of "organised crime." No mention of the "discs" being counterfeit, come to that. (As far as we're told, they could be blanks.) Those dramatic "bases"? They were "premises" to start with. We learn three people were arrested but "bailed pending enquiries" (so not the roughest crims or the greatest flight risks in the world) and that the international search warrants (perhaps for the counterfeiters' customers? Who knows?) found - er, well, they were used.

And obviously there's the spin - as the "Industry Trust" is so certain, we'll give them the "7 computers, 156 burners, 6000 discs" as qualifying for criminal purposes; but that still leaves searching "three premises" and finding "20 credit cards... 21,000 in cash" presented as intrinsically damning.

Again, every other result of a search leads right back to the "Industry Trust" corroborating itself. Can anyone find anything else about this obviously major international case with its weapons, guns, false IDs and maybe DVDs?

Next paragraph.


QUOTE

A year-long investigation in Sussex, uncovered an organised crime gang with links to Malaysia, which was found to be selling counterfeit DVDs through websites and local newspaper adverts. The case resulted in five arrests and the ringleaders being sentenced to up to nine months in prison. The Assets Recovery Agency is now pursuing these criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.


Captain Google says: the "Industry Trust" self-corroborates again. Next!

QUOTE

In Cambridgeshire, following a major surveillance exercise, a joint operation involving police, trading standards, representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions, FACT and HM Customs & Excise, resulted in thousands of pounds worth of pirate film and music products being seized from market traders. A stun gun and an open bladed kitchen knife were found in the vehicle of one of the arrested males.


Same again; search and the "Industry Trust" backs itself up. Presumably the "pirate film" items seized were DVDs rather than counterfeit posters or some legitimate films about pirates, but note the way that an unfounded connection is made between DVD piracy and the stun gun/"open bladed kitchen knife" (eh? Do they do flick ones?). It's practically proof of organised crime, which is handy as this case otherwise fails to qualify.

Next paragraph.

QUOTE

As a result of a 12 month investigation by FACT into forum members on a website, 10 search warrants were issued and nine people arrested. A major haul of counterfeit DVDs was seized and on further investigation of these materials, a large quantity of paedophilia was also discovered. The computer and associated material were handed back to police for a full analysis to be carried out, pending serious charges.


Can anyone rewrite this story with fewer facts? "(A) forum"; "a website"; "a large quantity of paedophilia"; "the computer" - oh, there was a computer then? Surprisingly, I couldn't Google this one either. I don't understand the "further investigation" bit at all - do they mean that the dodgy Matrix boxes (or whatever) turned out to contain child porn? (Wouldn't the people who wanted to buy cheap Matrix knock-offs complain?) Or hadn't they bothered looking in the big box they found? WHERE ARE THE FACTS? HOW CAN WE TELL WHAT HAPPENED? WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?

And it was all going so well with the first story, where THE FACTS contradicted and destroyed every one of their ridiculous baseless claims. Hey, perhaps that's why the others don't give you enough to trace them.

Next paragraph.

QUOTE

Cases Investigated by Regional Trading Standards Departments


Promising; these lads love to let you know when they've done something.

QUOTE

In March 2004, trading standards officers in Sheffield assisted police after reports of two men selling counterfeit DVDs on the street. Police managed to detain one of the traders who was of Chinese origin and spoke no English at all. After an interpreter was called to the police station, the man claimed to have come to the UK three days earlier and was being forced to sell counterfeit goods in return for food and shelter.
>>>Download Full Sheffield Press Release


Okay, the relevant section of the "full Sheffield press release" says

QUOTE

Sheffield Trading Standards are hoping that this campaign will deter consumers from buying counterfeit DVDs and videos at car boot sales and markets in the city. TSOs are keen to combat piracy and have witnessed first hand how people traffickers are using illegal immigrants to sell counterfeit goods. In March 2004, trading standards officers assisted police after reports of two men selling counterfeit DVDs on the street. Police managed to detain one of the traders who was of Chinese origin and spoke no English at all. After an interpreter was called to the police station, the man claimed to have come to the UK three days earlier and was being forced to sell counterfeit goods in return for food and shelter.

Phil Glaves, Sheffield Trading Standards, believes this campaign will help to send a strong message to consumers that DVD piracy is not only a rip off but is also heavily linked to organised crime.

"Although fake DVDs often appear to be a bargain, they are SHUT UP WE ALREADY HAD YOU AT THE BEGINNING


A treasure chest of extra detail there.

The internets lead - yes! - straight back to the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited." In the absence of corroborative evidence, let's try rewriting the story, bearing in mind the proof that "people traffickers are using illegal immigrants to sell counterfeit goods" is (a) arresting one bloke who (b) spoke no English to the people arresting him who therefore assumed he was an illegal immigrant (he's "of Chinese origin"! He must be!); and (c) when they brought in a translator to interrogate him in the police station where he would stay if he confessed, he said was a slave labourer. Okay, here's my attempt.


QUOTE

Arrested man says somebody else is to blame. No other facts known.


Why not have a go yourself? Send it in on a postcard or sealed-down envelope.

Next paragraph.


QUOTE

Recently, a massive DVD pirating ring was smashed by Swansea Council Trading Standards. The pirating ring was supplying fake copies of Hollywood Blockbusters to thousands of people across Swansea. Over 2000 fake DVDs were seized from addresses in Treboeth and Ravenhill.
>>>Download Full Swansea Press Release


The "full Swansea press release" says

QUOTE

Swansea Trading Standards are hoping that this campaign will deter consumers from buying counterfeit DVDs and videos at car boot sales and markets in the city. Recently, a massive DVD pirating ring was smashed by Swansea Council Trading Standards. The pirating ring was supplying fake copies of Hollywood Blockbusters to thousands of people across Swansea. Over 2000 fake DVDs were seized from addresses in Treboeth and Ravenhill.

John Hague, Cabinet Member for the Environment, believes this campaign will help to send a strong message to consumers that DVD piracy is not only a rip off but is also heavily linked to organised crime.

"Although fake DVDs often appear to be a bargain, they are GET OUT.


I'm surprised by this. Local boys always want to play up their coups. Tch - I forgot - this whole thing is centrally managed by the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited" through their PR company. To the internets!

Nope, a closed loop back to the "Industry Trust's" own sites yet again. This is baffling. Or could it be that these Trading Standards people don't think dodgy DVDs are worth alerting the press about? (Remember, even that Chief Inspector in East Sussex Near Polegate was interested, roughly in order, in the county's image, prohibited airguns, counterfeit clothes, his tea and fake movies.) How can they be so lax? Don't they know DVD piracy kills babies with bombs? Incidentally, the Swansea story appears to have forgotten altogether to try to bring up organised crime.

Final paragraph.


QUOTE

Links between DVD piracy and organised crime are highlighted today with the publication of new evidence, compiled by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited, as part of a major anti-piracy campaign that is being backed by Gateshead Trading Standards.
>>>Download Full Gateshead Press Release


Why bother? They haven't. "Nothing happened here in Gateshead, but we agree." They could at least have told Eddie Waring they were playing their Joker.

So the "Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited" is a giant cartel of movie companies and retailers with media nous and a preliminary budget of 1.5m to prove the link between DVD piracy and organised crime/terrorism/blowing up babies with bombs in order to ram through even more uncivil laws. We're some idiots on a forum reading their site or typing things into Google, and already we can see where their story is falling apart. Is that story just badly presented - poor value for their 1.5m - or is it false in the first place? Stay tuned!

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