Raid Crushes Multi-Million Dollar Taiwanese Piracy Ring

Raid Crushes Multi-Million Dollar Taiwanese Piracy Ring

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One of the largest videogame piracy raids in history has taken millions of dollars of illegal goods off the streets.

Videogame piracy is a massive issue in Asia, but the black market in Taiwan recently took a huge hit. Late last month, Taiwanese police raided a warehouse filled with thousands of pirated videogames worth millions of dollars in one of the region's biggest busts ever.

Officers working with Taiwan's Intellectual Property Rights Police Team found 140,000 copies of PlayStation 2, Wii, and Xbox games in the raid. The pirated goods were worth approximately $8.4 million on the street, which is reportedly the largest blow to videogame piracy in Taiwan's history. The raid was the result of a 7 month investigation that began thanks to tips from game developers.

Of the raid, an IPRPT spokesman said: "Nearly all of the pirated disc inventory in Taiwan was busted in that operation. There must be a shortage on the market now." It's not confirmed whether or not this was wishful thinking on his part, but $8 million worth of pirated games is certainly a lot.

Four suspects were also arrested as part of the raid, whom had been traveling between Taiwanese capital city Taipei and Chinese mainland city Guangzhou where the pirates' factory was located. Part of the ring's attempt to conceal its operations included some members pretending to be customers on a website. When the suspects would receive goods, these fake orders made things look more legitimate.

Ultimately, the IPRPT says that the factories in China are the real problem, and piracy won't stop until they can be taken out. Considering how big piracy is in China, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.

Source: Focus Taiwan

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That is amazing. So were all the titles in Chinese or some other asian languages, or was this a score for game companies on the international scale? I kinda wonder why they can't strike down the factories. I know there is a lot of legal mumbo jumbo for the reasons, but i would still like to what's going on. Also i can't help but wonder when there is going to be a strike at the digital format piracy industry.
.....did i just get first post?

Looks like someone had a falling out with the cops. Missed a payment, perhaps?

Indeed. Piracy does seem to be largest in China.

That may just be it's massive population, however.

twaddle:
That is amazing. So were all the titles in Chinese or some other asian languages, or was this a score for game companies on the international scale?

I'm wondering the same thing, but it sounds like it was for local distribution.

I personally suspect that the "street sales" there aren't anything compared to the sale of games over services like Ebay.

I'm interested in seeing if there will be any kind of follow up reporting on this article. What is going to be done with the seized "goods"? How do the trials for those who werre arrested go? If convicted (I'm not sure how the system there works) what kind of sentences
do they pull down?

I mean the bust is interesting and all, but a lot depends on whether it can be made to stick, and what kind of deterrant the resolution is going to provide.

With no offense to Taiwan, if these guys walk in and out of the courtroom with little more than a slap on the wrist, or that seized material gets sent to some warehouse where it disappears 2 weeks later so some other criminals (or corrupt cops themselves) simply put it right back out for sale... well, that says a lot too. Things like that happen in the US from time to time, especially if law enforcement is actually being half hearted about their efforts to begin with (which may or may not be the case here, was this done by the police totally on their own, or was this in part pushed by politicians?).

I'll be very interested to see if anything more is said on the subject, and how the story ends.

Holy crap. That is a hugeee bust. 8.4 million dollars....

What interests me though is, what sort of tips could video game developers have given the authorities that allowed them to build up an investigation and such? Maybe theft reports on shipments or something? :o

the problom with the chiness piracy factories, is that china doesnt recognize the legal rights of the video game companies basicly, they are not legally allowed to be sold in the country and game sales are highly restricted so they are not really going to invest in stoping piracy.

How do they track the rest of the stock? I mean, is it just PR to say they got most of it?

Until a country develops enough IP (in the form of movies, or video games, music barely counts as most musicians make much more money from concerts vs sales) to make piracy hurt its own industries, there just isn't enough public support to enforce piracy crackdowns. Hell there is hardly enough public support in the US.

No self respecting Police man, politician, or other federal agent is going to say "I am going to really crack down and spent a lot of taxpayer money to stop 10 year old kids from downloading a game instead of paying money to a multi-billion dollar company."

Investigations, enforcement, raids, all that costs money, and when the end result is "We made EAs stock rise $0.0001" as opposed to "We stopped 500 lbs of Cocaine from reaching the street" or "We caught the serial killer" then the money can be hard to justify.

ohhh well I mean PlayStation 2, Wii, and Xbox games...that's last generation's consoles anyway so it's whatever xP

So unless the Video games industry hires arsonists to destroy this factory piracy will march on? Oh well sucks for them.

Ahaha. Piracy in Taiwan... Buying pirated material there (and China) was like going grocery shopping.

okay lets see

8.4 million
say $52 for a game (based on new game prices that's what the average is across all consoles]

8,400,000/52

= 161,539 rounded up from decimal places

That's quite a lot of games.

duchaked:
ohhh well I mean PlayStation 2, Wii, and Xbox games...that's last generation's consoles anyway so it's whatever xP

Wii is a current generation console. Also, PS2s are still doing quite well in many parts of the world.

I have no idea about the Xbox though.

It is virtually impossible to buy a legitimate game in China. Even though they cracked down hard on a single warehouse, there will always be more pirates filling in the gaps. Sadly, it's the Chinese way of life, and people from all financial backgrounds in China buy fake goods on a regular basis, especially when it comes to entertainment media. I wish that this crackdown really meant something, but China isn't really a respected international consumer for the game industry unless you're running an MMO.

The merch may have been WORTH 8 million-- sold at pirate disk prices-- but it was surely far less pricey to produce.

Note to above poster: Taiwan is not exactly China.

140,000 copies of PlayStation 2, Wii, and Xbox games in the raid. The pirated goods were worth approximately $8.4 million on the street

That's a pretty vague and misleading statement. For one, they were only worth that if they were ALL sold at 60$ apiece, which is the same price as a recently launched AAA game. I severely doubt that pirates would sell something at more than a tenth of the retail price. Second, that's the value gotten if all the pirated copies were sold as real copies, and i think we can all agree that if piracy wasn't there, only a fraction of those copies would have been sold legitimately to the same people.

Third, you seem to imply that the pirates have taken "millions of dollars in damage" which is just flat out dreadfully wrong. As it is extremely easy to make copies, the pirates have taken very little damage. In other words, they lost 140.000 discs.
Maybe tell us the price at which these pirated games circulated? All in all, kind of a poor quality news article.

poiumty:
snip

This is common with all law enforcement. For example, lets say you are a marijuana grower. The state comes in and busts you. They then weigh your marijuana, including stem, leaf, dirt, flowerpots, and the water in the drip trays. "oh my god it was worth 30,000 dollars" is what the paper prints, but the actual usable product represents far less.

Remember: the bigger the bust, the bigger the bump.
Sergent Stadanko

Aylaine:
Holy crap. That is a hugeee bust. 8.4 million dollars....

What interests me though is, what sort of tips could video game developers have given the authorities that allowed them to build up an investigation and such? Maybe theft reports on shipments or something? :o

I'd imagine it would be tips like: "Our servers are tracking lots of achievements, progress and patches being downloaded for that game, but we haven't released that game in your country, so there's no legitimate way so many people could be playing it".

It also wouldn't surprise me if some naive and clueless gamers in Taiwan also contacted the developers and customer support for help with their games that haven't been released there.

This is a very different kind of piracy - the kind of people who get caught with 8mil in pirated games, store cocaine and other crap in the next room.

I hear you get a free 9mm handgun with every Wii Sports from these guys. Thats business.

And now the Taiwanese police will make a killing selling off the bootlegs themselves :D

I jest!

Is it the biggest game piracy raid in their history because there hasn't been any other before, or... ?

'Cause, although that is a lot of games, it's not even close to stopping the market. They've probably just slowed a small part of it down with this.

Also, they will have to act very fast against the other game piracy mediums, since now they'll be aware that the police is after them.
(But maybe they were. *Shrug*)

Terramax, I wouldn't completely discount that, though they just may play the games themselves!

I haven't seen anything about this in Taiwanese media, and I don't really expect to. I don't see this being a big thing, here, even though it is on such a large scale. If I see any follow-up news, I'll post it (and if in Chinese, translate it).

iLikeHippoes, there have been other raids, but this is truly the largest in terms of scale and items seized.

But it's true that it won't stop piracy, here. The items are made in China, not Taiwan, so they'll just continue being imported until the Chinese factories are shut down.

And this will change . . . . . absolutely nothing.

Fuck yes but if there would be any change? No. They should chase down the very core/heart of this entire ordeal but nevertheless, a good catch!

Kejui:
Terramax, I wouldn't completely discount that, though they just may play the games themselves!

I haven't seen anything about this in Taiwanese media, and I don't really expect to. I don't see this being a big thing, here, even though it is on such a large scale. If I see any follow-up news, I'll post it (and if in Chinese, translate it).

iLikeHippoes, there have been other raids, but this is truly the largest in terms of scale and items seized.

But it's true that it won't stop piracy, here. The items are made in China, not Taiwan, so they'll just continue being imported until the Chinese factories are shut down.

Welcome to the Escapist, Kejui, and your acts of discussing with others is always a valued part of the community.
For future refrence, if you quote someone using the button on the bottom-right of their post, they will be notified of your response via their Escapist inbox.
Look forward to more of your contributions!

And why isn't this more celebrated? They said they found almost all of the pirate inventory of an entire country. Saying, "Oh, we haven't done China yet" is like a general saying, "Oh, I haven't invaded Russia yet."
China's going to be extremely difficult to even put a dent into.

Thanks for the welcome and advice.

Erana:
Saying, "Oh, we haven't done China yet" is like a general saying, "Oh, I haven't invaded Russia yet." China's going to be extremely difficult to even put a dent into.

Well, it's just not in the personality of Taiwanese people to care about video games, as a previous poster mentioned. If it doesn't pull in money to their own family, it's not a great use of their time. Anyway, the news outlets here always show the same garbage and/or normal daily things:
- some new restaurant you should check out
- some kid who did something all other kids can do
- weather (rain in the west, flooding in the east)
- The two big political parties arguing
- animations of thievery (yes, they reenact via animations, it's great)

Possibly, there'll be a mention on TV, but I don't see it being a gigantic story.

I'm not saying that China would be easy, or that this doesn't deserve to be there, just that it probably won't. With that in mind, here are just the distributors and buyers, the factories are all in China. So, taking the supplies is just delaying the inevitable. Next week, more will be shipped here and bought.

It's not that the government doesn't do anything, here, it's that other governments are doing nothing.

Canid117:
So unless the Video games industry hires arsonists to destroy this factory piracy will march on? Oh well sucks for them.

Careful how loudly you say that. Activision might start getting ideas.

poiuppx:

Canid117:
So unless the Video games industry hires arsonists to destroy this factory piracy will march on? Oh well sucks for them.

Careful how loudly you say that. Activision might start getting ideas.

It would be the only thing I'd applaud Kotick for.

Am I the only person who finds this really funny? Police raid an honest-to-god warehouse and seize a massive pile of physical media, then pat themselves on the back for solving their country's piracy problem? In other news, bulk supply retailers are about to see a 140,000-unit spike in blank disc sales (approximate value: $10), followed by the completely unexpected revival of Taiwan's piracy trade.

I don't think much of the people who sell stolen IP for a living, but this still cracks me up. Welcome to the 20th century, guys.

mjc0961:

duchaked:
ohhh well I mean PlayStation 2, Wii, and Xbox games...that's last generation's consoles anyway so it's whatever xP

Wii is a current generation console.

badum tish!

Veret:
Am I the only person who finds this really funny? Police raid an honest-to-god warehouse and seize a massive pile of physical media, then pat themselves on the back for solving their country's piracy problem?

They didn't so much pat themselves on the back for solving as they did for preventing. They did prevent those items from being sold, and with the market the way it is, here, I'd say it was, indeed, a major feat.

I'm not even sure if they sell the Wii here, yet, because last year the thing was still still unavailable. So, I know a few people with illegally bought games, which suck because they don't run correctly, because they couldn't get them for a decent price (even retail is better than importing from Japan).

For piracy, I'd say movies and TV shows are way higher than videogames. You can find them, sure, but I believe most people who play XBox, PS3, and even PC, are playing legit games.

That could be naïvety, but I just don't think the illegal game market is that HUGE in Taiwan; it takes more effort to find them, here, than the easily found TV shows and movies, and way easier to rent them, which would be appealing (easiness) to Taiwanese.

Pingieking:
Looks like someone had a falling out with the cops. Missed a payment, perhaps?

Nah. They are really trying to bust piarcy this time. I remember they were trying to pass a law that make the police capable to cut your internet if you are found downloading pirate material, and fine you as well.

 

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