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Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) advertisement on a Hackney carriage

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is a trade organisation in the UK established to represent the interests of the its members in the film and broadcasting business on copyright and trademark issues. Established in 1983, FACT works with law enforcement agencies on copyright-infringement issues. FACT has been accepted as a prosecution authority and engages in criminal prosecutions in its own right. [1]


Recent Activity

In 2007 FACT reported seizing over 2.8m pirate DVDs and states it has "enhanced its enforcement capabilities against those involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of copyright material both online and in hard copy format".

Also in 2007, FACT, in collaboration with UK police, took down well known hot-linking site FACT makes the claim that the 26 year old man from Cheltenham was arrested in connection with offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the internet whereas the arrest was over a matter of possible trademark infringement, though no such infringement appears to have taken place[2][3]. While arrested under Section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 he has now been released 'pending further investigation' with no charges filed against him as of 25 October. [3][4 ] Strangely, Section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 deals with falsely applying signs to goods that may be mistaken for a registered trademark, something which the website did not do [5].

In June 2009, FACT brought a lawsuit against the company Scopelight and its founders for running a video search engine called The organisation accompanied a police raid on the Scopelights owners homes, they collaborated with the police in the initial investigation and they allowed FACT employee's to inspect confiscated computers and the information on them. After a few months the police decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute the owners for criminal charges. Scopelight's owners requested their property back to which FACT refused claiming they were holding onto the equipment to be used for a civil case against the owners. The issue was brought to court and it was ruled that FACT's actions were improper and the equipment should have been returned the moment police decided not to prosecute the owners of Scopelight. [6]

Anti-piracy warnings

The Columbia-Tristar version of "Beware of Illegal Video Cassettes"
Pirate Videos: Daylight Robbery

FACT has produced several adverts which have appeared at the beginning of videos and DVDs released in the UK, as well as trailers shown before films in cinemas.



During the 1990s, FACT created a 30 second piracy warning called "Beware of Illegal Video Cassettes", reminding customers to check whether they have a genuine video and how to report questionable copies. Versions for each studio depicting their respective security label were created, and the warning was placed at the beginning of practically every rental released VHS tape in the UK (as well as many retail tapes), analogous to the FBI Warning found on tapes in the United States. Since late 1996, this warning was followed by a public information film featuring a man attempting to return a pirate video purchased from a market after discovering that the sound was garbled and the picture unwatchable, ending with the tagline "Pirate Videos: Daylight Robbery." The public information film has been parodied by websites such as Medlo and is available on Youtube.


With the advent of DVD, FACT developed a new anti piracy spot, which concentrated more on illegal downloading and less on purchasing pirate copies. The spot related downloading movies to stealing a handbag, a car, and other such items (similar to the US FAST "Piracy is theft" slogan of the 1990s). This was parodied in an episode of The IT Crowd [7]

The advert has been criticised by the general public and TV personalities alike. The most common complaint being that the advert only appears on genuinely purchased DVDs and cannot be skipped by fast forwarding or pressing the DVD menu button.[8][9][10]

In an episode of the TV show Mock the Week, comedian Ed Byrne said, whilst performing a sketch about the entertainment industry, "Before I watch it, I have to sit through the DVD piracy warning, which I think we can all agree; is beginning to get on our collective tits."[11]

See also


  1. ^ WikiCrimeLine Federation Against Copyright Theft Ltd
  2. ^ "TV Links website owner arrested for copyright infringement". 2007-10-22. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-01-29.  
  3. ^ a b Andres Guadamuz (2007-10-23). "No charges filed, man released pending further investigation". TechnoLlama. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29.  
  4. ^ Kevin Anderson (2007-10-25). "Why was someone arrested over the TV Links website?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29.  
  5. ^ Mike Masnick (7 July 2009). "Why Did UK Anti-Piracy Group FACT Get Computers From A Criminal Investigation... And Keep Them?". Techdirt. Retrieved 2009-07-07.  
  6. ^ "Moss and the German". The IT Crowd. Channel 4. 2007-09-07. No. 3, series 2.
  7. ^ A Message To The Movie Industry: Piracy Is Not Your Problem. Retrieved 2009-01-29.  
  8. ^ MPAA's Anti Piracy Campaign "Corrected". Retrieved 2009-01-29.  
  9. ^ "Unable to skip anti-piracy adverts on DVD". Retrieved 2009-01-29.  
  10. ^ Ed Byrne on Piracy - Mock the Week - BBC Two. BBC. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2009-01-29.  

External links

  • FACT homepage
  • Trade Marks Act 1994 [1] (pp46–47)
  • Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 [2]


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