Computer Crime Research Center


Biggest counterfeit operation, piracy

Date: October 17, 2005
Source: PC Pro

Three men from California have been charged with involvement in the biggest CD counterfeiting operation ever discovered in the US. The men - Ye Teng Wen, Hao He and Yaobin Zhai - have been indicted by a grand jury with conspiring to pirate some 325,000 CDs of music, films and software.

The indictments follows the arrests of five people and searches of thirteen locations in California and Texas on 6 October 2005 as part of 'Operation Remaster', which aimed to break up a huge piracy ring.

According to the Attorney of the District of Northern California, the men were planning piracy on a grand scale. In order to copy a disc, a piece of equipment known as a 'stamper' is used. One of these stamper machines can potentially manufacture 50,000 to 80,000 counterfeit CDs or DVDs. The defendants were discovered with 2,000 of these devices.

As part of Operation Remaster as a whole, more than 500,000 CDs and over one million CD inserts were seized, along with thousands of DVDs and 3,300 stampers. The Recording Industry Association of America estimates that a conservative value of one infringing music stamper is $25,000 and thus the people involved in the operation stood to make millions.
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