Porn DVD Pirate Ordered to Pay Restitution

Porn DVD Pirate Ordered to Pay Restitution
Michael Hayes
WORKINGTON, England — An English court has ordered a man convicted of pirating porn DVDs and selling them for profit to repay more than $177,000 or face an additional year in jail.

Paul Lee, 38, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for counterfeiting more than 7,000 adult DVDs. Lee, who told the court that he “got into it as a hobby,” sold the bulk of the pirated DVDs at the Sellafield nuclear power plant, where he used to work.

The push to seek restitution from Lee came at the behest of two government agencies: England’s Assets Recovery Agency and the Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards office, headed by Phil Ashcroft, who launched the investigation into Lee’s operation after an anonymous tip and vowed to continue the fight against piracy.

“This is the second time that we have worked with the Assets Recovery Agency,” Ashcroft said. “It won’t be the last. This result sends a clear message to all counterfeiters that crime does not pay.”

The $177,000 figure represents an estimate of Lee’s total piracy operation, which he told the court began as “home collection that got out of control.”

When police raided Lee’s house in 2004 they seized equipment capable of duplicating 100 DVDs per hour. Lee began his copying “hobby” in April of 2001.

A spokeswoman for the Assets Recovery Agency called the court’s order an “excellent result.”

“People who counterfeit should be aware that we will collaborate with other agencies to ensure that they do not benefit from their crime,” the Asset Recovery Agency spokeswoman said.