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Piracy bust indicates shifting attitudes

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The South African Police Force (SAPF) yesterday seized a consignment of fake DVDs, valued at over R1 million, and arrested a 63-year-old man during a raid on an Edenvale house.

According to lieutenant-colonel Lungelo Dlamini, of the SAPF provincial office, the bust followed an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public on the Crime Line hotline.

“We received the tip-off early yesterday and before noon that day, we had seized the goods and made the arrest,” he states. Dlamini adds that ongoing investigations are geared to finding out where the consignment was heading.

The rand value of the bust, together with the speed with which the crime was investigated, indicates South Africans are finally taking a stand against piracy, says James Lennox, CEO of the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact).

Pleased that the bust was the result of a public tip-off, Lennox notes Safact has noticed a significant increase in these types of leads, which indicates South Africans are becoming less tolerant of this sort of perceived soft crime.

Three years ago, the mindset was that this form of crime was just people trying to make an honest living and that it mainly affected international entertainment conglomerates, he explains. This is not the case, argues Lennox, as this form of crime has a huge impact on the local industry.

Furthermore, he argues, people can't be selective of crime. Piracy is often part of broader crime syndicates. While budget resources may be different for different crimes, crimes must be addressed equally. Lennox urges the public mindset to acknowledge that crime, in any form, is unacceptable.

“SA is moving in the right direction, and Safact is happy with the progress, but we still have a long way to go in this battle against piracy. Piracy figures are still too high and the effects on the local industry far-reaching,” concludes Lennox.

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