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Scots Are Top Buyers of Pirate DVDs

DVD PiracyScots are the biggest customers for pirate DVDs in the UK, with one in three owning counterfeit discs. Around 25% of consumers admit they would buy illegal copies of Hollywood movies and TV shows if they could save money. More than a third claimed not to know piracy was illegal despite regular police raids on market stalls.

 Glasgow's Barrowland Market - many anti-piracy operations have been mounted here

Studios are now so concerned about the level of counterfeiting in Scotland, they have agreed to back an amnesty to urge fans to surrender illegal discs. The public will be offered the chance to swap pirate copies for legitimate DVDs as part of a roadshow, which will tour major cities, including Glasgow, this summer.

Figures show the proportion of customers who bought DVDs in Scotland last year was 10% higher than the rest of the UK.

Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association, said: "The aim of the amnesty campaign is to make consumers in Scotland aware that DVD piracy is not a victimless crime.

"That's why we are asking people to bring their pirate DVDs along to be publicly destroyed. There is no question of anyone getting into trouble," she said. "When you buy an illegal DVD, your money may well go directly into the pockets of criminals."

Universal Pictures and Warner Home Video UK are backing the amnesty, which started in Edinburgh this week. The Federation Against Copyright Theft estimates piracy costs the movie industry more than £700million a year.

Some traders in Glasgow earn £1000 an hour from selling fake DVDs, CDs and computer games. Investigators from film company DreamWorks said they were "amazed" at the number of films on sale at the Barras market, when they visited Glasgow in 2003. Many films sell for around £5 and have not even been released in UK cinemas.

Police in January smashed a counterfeit DVD ring after seizing discs, which included copies of blockbuster King Kong, worth around £300,000 from a Glasgow flat. Earlier this year FACT, which represents Hollywood studios, reported "major progress" in driving criminals out of the Barras.