Four men behind illegal Masterbox discs sentenced to jail
Four men have been sentenced to jail by a Dutch court for their role in the production and distribution of the illegal series of Masterbox DVDs, concluding a long running investigation by IFPI and Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN.
Masterbox was released monthly and contained copyright infringing music, films and TV programmes. The gang sold up to 10,000 units per month between 2006 and 2010 for a unit price of between €35 to €50. The value of the equivalent licensed entertainment products was around €1,000.
Three of the suspects were sentenced to one year in prison, of which six months was conditional, with one also being required to perform 240 hours of community service. A fourth man was sentenced to 15 months in prison, of which six months are conditional. He had a previous conviction for participating in a criminal organisation that produced copyright infringing CDs. The police seized €80,000 in cash from his residence when it was raided.
IFPI and BREIN had investigated the organised criminals behind the Masterbox series for a number of years. IFPI's forensic lab identified the origins of the various editions of the Masterbox series, resulting in prosecutor actions in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Italy and Poland against those involved in pressing the copyright infringing discs. In the Netherlands, BREIN filed a complaint which led the Dutch fiscal police (FIOD) and the public prosecutor (OM) to investigate the four suspects behind the whole operation, leading to their arrest in 2010. IFPI's forensic research was used by Dutch officials to show the size and scale of the activities of the operators behind Masterbox.
Jeremy Banks, director, anti-piracy, IFPI, says: "This is the conclusion of a lengthy investigation into a criminal organisation that made significant amounts of money by infringing the rights of a whole range of creative industries. I would like to thank FIOD and OM in the Netherlands for their commitment and resolve in bringing this case to court and pushing for a deterrent sentence."
Prosecutors will now seek to recover some nine million euro from the defendants under proceeds of crime legislation.
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