DVD pirate sunk by sentence

The Australian Customs Service has chalked up its first custodial sentence for offences under the Copyright Act, with a Brisbane man given a nine month jail sentence of which he will serve three months, pay a $1500 recognisance fee and be placed upon a five year good behaviour bond.

After being charged on three occasions in less than six months for copyright offences, Sydney Grant Priscott, 53, was found guilty before the Brisbane Magistrate's court of 28 charges involving the importation, possession and 'exposing for sale' of counterfeit DVDs.

According to a statement from the Australian Customs Service, 800 pirate DVDs concealed in audio speaker stands destined for a fake address were detected in Brisbane's air cargo terminal on September 23, 2003

The consignment was then traced back to an address in Coopers Plains, west of Brisbane, with Australian Federal Police and Customs raiding the premises where further pirated DVDs were found (6th October 2003). Priscott was then charged in relation to both the initial consignment and the additional counterfeit DVDs.

Despite the charges, Priscott then continued to sell pirated DVDs at Brisbane's Eumundi Pavilion Markets until he was dobbed-in, raided and arrested again on more piracy related charges following the execution of further warrant relating to the market stand on 6th March 2004.

Federal Customs and Justice Minister Chris Ellison made fast work of hailing the conviction as a milestone, saying that the sentence sent "a clear message that attempts to flout Australia's copyright laws will be detected and punished."

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Julian Bajkowski

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