Deputies zero in on counterfeit goods - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deputies zero in on counterfeit goods

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February 2, 2007

Albany -- Seven people were indicted by a Dougherty County grand jury this week for selling counterfeit movies and music C.D.'s. 

It's a multi-billion dollar crime, that international law enforcement says is skyrocketing in scope, and Georgia is a hub for the distribution of pirated goods across the nation.

Peach State law enforcement is now trying to catch up to the crooks in this new form of organized crime.  

A Dougherty County Sheriff's evidence closet is packed full of counterfeit and pirated music and movies. Sold at flea markets, they may seem like small change, but International law enforcement says one point nine billion dollars of copyright and trademark infringement products were seized last year, and they know seizures like this are just a small fraction of the products being sold illegally.

Georgia, especially Atlanta, has become the hub for counterfeit pirates. Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Investigator Craig Dodd said "55 percent of all the seizures of DVD's and CD's in the country occurred in Georgia last year. So it's a major problem for the state of Georgia."

Lt. Dodd attended the Georgia State Intelligence Review in Dillard recently, where state law enforcement was warned that organized crime rings were moving music and movie pirating past their old drug and pornography operations, because of the huge profits.  

"There's less risk, there's less violent crime, there's less law enforcement involved with it. Because up to now, law enforcement has not viewed this as a bad situation," Dodd said.

Dodd says that Homeland Defense warns much of the money coming from pirating DVD's and CD's is going to crime syndicates in foreign countries, even helping fund terrorism.

Now Georgia law enforcement is working to catch up to highly organized crime operations, that most people never recognize.

 Dodd says industry groups are trying to use technology to battle the counterfeit pirating of their products, but the crime is still growing.

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