Date: 2006 April 03 15:00
Posted by Joe
According the Mainichi Daily News, Italian police have raided firms in the first European case of pirated anime DVDs. As the author of the Pirate Anime FAQ, I've been aware of pirated anime DVDs ever since the format was released, however, it seems that the Italian authorities have started to clamp down on them, seizing around 400 titles, which included Naruto, New Getter Robo, Hinotori and Mazinger. The company raided originally sold leg anime, but started to sell Hong Kong bootlegs in 2002. Around 20,000 to 30,000 copies were sold each month for 25 euros each. The article states that the company and other companies being investigated are accountable for 90% of all pirated copies on the Italian market, as well as 60% of the legitimate market! It also shows that these companies make huge profits, (900,000 euros a year apparently), and that the companies in question are also being investigated for tax evasion.
This article is interesting since I've always had trouble getting solid figures for pirate anime merchandise, as a result it's been hard to gauge how much it's been hurting the anime industry. These figures present an insight to how much anime fans are being ripped off by pirate DVD companies and the retailers that sell them. Apparently this is the first time authorities have exposed a case of pirated Japanese anime Europe, I have a list of many other retailers and will be happy to pass them on the authorities if requested.
Maybe this is the first of many such raids, a sign of things to come to those other bad anime retailers out there, but I also hope that the authorities do not mistake legitimate import DVDs from other countries (often called grey imports) as pirate DVDs.