Former 'Anti-Piracy Investigator' Explains How He Fed Police Cases, Inflated 'Piracy' Stats

by Mike Masnick
Oct. 05, 2011

None of this will come as much of a surprise, but a former "anti-piracy" private investigator who worked for the MPAA's anti-piracy shell operation in Australia, AFACT, has explained to Torrentfreak how he helped inflate "piracy" numbers, was used to imply a non-existent link between infringement and drug trafficking, and how he basically handed police targets for raids. The guy was focused on physical counterfeiting of movies, and actually lost his job as the MPAA/AFACT started focusing more on online, rather than physical. But, still there are some tidbits that highlight pretty much how the MPAA twists things:
"He was adamant that we needed to boost our statistics to make the media sit up and take notice and that the large numbers would make it easier to get the local Police interested. This was especially difficult to do as local police had no jurisdiction over copyright infringing product and the AFP were desperately short on manpower. We were encouraged to find links to drugs and stolen goods wherever possible."

"We discussed the formula for extrapolating the potential street value earnings of 'laboratories' and we were instructed to count all blank discs in our seizure figures as they were potential product. Mr Gane also explained that the increased loss approximation figures were derived from all forms of impacts on decreasing cinema patronage right through to the farmer who grows the corn for popping."


"Funded solely by MPAA, AFACT lobbies hard for changes to Australian law and enhance the sexiness of their case by making vague references to links to terrorism. Sometimes not so vague. I was instructed to tell police officers that the profit margins were greater than dealing heroin. It was bizarre. A twisted logic that AFACT spewed out with monotonous regularity," Warren says.

One of the examples Warren gives is that they assumed that all burners and DVD replicators would run 24/7, making these operations appear very lucrative.

"Each burner cranking out ten discs an hour, multiplied by ten dollars per disc is potentially a hundred dollars an hour, multiplied by number of burners by hours in a year gives a yearly potential…. Very pumped up statistics."
There's a lot more in the story -- none of which is particularly surprising, but just interesting to see someone who was there come out and admit what most people knew already.

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