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Disk Demolition Derby Trucks Through Auckland CBD

Campaign launched to raise piracy awareness

More than 3,000 counterfeit computer games were dramatically demolished at the bottom of Queen Street at midday, marking the launch of a public anti-piracy campaign to curb the annual loss of an estimated $20-30 million to New Zealand's computer game industry.

Popular game characters Pikachu, Croc, and Mario were on site to help sweep the pirated games across the grounds of QEII Square in preparation for Auckland's first "Disk Demolition Derby," where a truck bulldozed over the computer games and another machine crunched the software to smithereens.

The demolition event is part of a larger anti-piracy programme that started earlier last year, when the Interactive Software Association of New Zealand (ISANZ) first gathered to address piracy issues facing their industry.

A private investigations company has been commissioned to help ISANZ combat counterfeit operations across the country and a hotline number is reserved for piracy leads (0800 COPY STOP).

"Since we hired the services of Auckland Investigations," says ISANZ President Mike Wynands, "we have noticed a sizeable drop in the number of people openly selling pirated games, especially in 'buy and sell' publications."

More than 200 counterfeit operations have been closed down, and there have been six criminal convictions.

Today's event marks the start of the ISANZ public anti-piracy awareness campaign.

"We need to start making more noise that piracy is a serious problem in New Zealand, says ISANZ Executive Officer Garth Wyllie. "It is important that people realise that software piracy is a crime."

Criminal convictions, hefty fines and even jail terms can be the consequence. Piracy is also theft of intellectual property.

"But it's more than just the criminal aspect," says Garth. "Software piracy also harms honest consumers. Pirated software is often rife with viruses, defects, and can corrupt the hardware system used to play the games on. Some copied games don't even work at all, and there is no customer support for counterfeits!"

Counterfeit software operations can also support other forms of fraudulent behaviour. The Electronic Crime Group of the Auckland Regional Police say that pirated software is discovered during almost every investigation carried out involving computer fraud, security violations, or the distribution of pornography.

John Thackray of the Electronic Crime Group warns parents that counterfeit computer games can often come with objectionable images that are embedded on to the computer disk when the games are copied, especially if they have been downloaded from the internet.

The New Zealand computer game industry is worth an approximate $60 million. An additional $20-30 million is lost to piracy: a serious impact on this country's economy, through the loss of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The debris from today's derby is being collected and put aside to be reused for an upcoming sculpture contest, where fine arts students are invited to create an artwork from the broken games that will serve to reinforce ISANZ' anti-piracy messages. The winning sculpture will tour a select group of retail stores that sell legitimate computer games. Interested contestants should contact ISANZ on (09) 367 0913.

##ENDS##

==>About ISANZ The Interactive Software Association of New Zealand are committed to supporting and protecting the intellectual property of New Zealand's computer game industry. Membership accounts for the large majority of the premium interactive game software sales in New Zealand. ISANZ is concerned about piracy, its impact on legitimate businesses, the economy and honest consumers. Administered by the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern), ISANZ can be contacted directly on (09) 367 0913.

Julie Landry Professional Public Relations (09) 979 2000 jlandry@ppr.com.au


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