Copyright theft, also known as piracy, is a growing problem in South Africa with millions of rands worth of fake movies, music, and games sold every year.
According to the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact), the estimated annual loss to the local music industry owing to piracy is in the region of R7,540,000.
To fight the scourge of piracy in South Africa, the police and Safact are working together to bust movie and music piracy labs.
Safact’s 2014 figures show that there were 894 arrests related to copyright theft in 2014, with 93 convictions in the same year.
Most of the actions were against street vendors, but some larger retailers and home operators were also busted.
South African burner labs busted
Over the last two years numerous burner labs, which produced pirated movie DVDs and music CDs, were busted.
In the latest operation a burner lab in Polly Street, Johannesburg was busted. One person was arrested and will be appearing in court shortly.
The busted operations differed significantly – from sophisticated mass-production facilities to small home burning labs.
Here are some of these labs which were busted.
Johannesburg Central burner lab
In February 2015 a burner lab in Polly Street, Johannesburg was busted. Over 4000 counterfeit film and music discs were seized including duplicating equipment (stack burners) and printers. One person was arrested and will be appearing in court shortly.
Durban Central factory
A factory copying films and music was raided in Durban Central on 14 August 2013. In this raid 9 stack burners and thousands of discs were seized.
Burner lab in Johannesburg
A burner lab was busted in Johannesburg on 25 November 2013. Manufacturing equipment, disc printers, and thousands of discs were discovered.
Manufacturing facility in Berea
There was a bust of a manufacturing facility in Berea, Kwazulu-Natal, on 6 February 2014.
Factories in Chatsworth
Two factories and distributors of pirated films and music were busted in Chatsworth on 17 May 2014. Fake CDs and DVDs as well as burning equipment were confiscated.
Fake film and music factory in Troyeville
A fake film and music factory was busted in Troyeville on 14 August 2014, where thousands of discs and burning equipment were confiscated. 1 Pakistani national was arrested.
Home factory in Pietermaritzburg
A home factory was busted in Pietermaritzburg on 19 November 2014, which resulted in two arrests.
Illegal factory in Rustenburg
On 14 November 2014 an illegal CD and DVD factory was busted in Rustenburg.
Home factory in Durban
A home manufacturer was busted in Merebank, Durban on 28 September 2014 where equipment and fake discs were seized.
Burner lab in Lenasia
On 18 July 2014 a burner lab was busted in Lenasia, where offenders were arrested and thousands of fake films and equipment were confiscated.
Manufacturing plant in Umbilo
On 19 April 2014 a fake movie and DVD manufacturing plant in Umbilo, Kwazulu-Natal was busted.