A front page article in the Swedish daily Metro (Skane edition) has a very interesting
article about a raid which took place at video stores in Gothenburg
and Stockholm. Apparently, the only reason this raid took place was
because the store was selling Region 1 DVD's - in other words, imported
DVD's. No, this is not a dream.
As you may know, the MPAA, among other entities, has helped to create
artificial barriers that prevent DVD's from being played in different
parts of the world. It's called "region coding." This is what programs like DeCSS manage to
defeat and it's one of the real reasons the MPAA went ballistic over
its release. Being able to force people to buy DVD's on whatever terms
the industry decrees makes it a lot easier to really rake in the dough and control distribution in ways that were previously unimaginable. And now they
apparently intend to get tough on anyone who tries to bypass this
barrier - even if there was absolutely no piracy or illegal activity
Here is a translation of the article, courtesy of a 2600 reader
in Sweden. Note how it's now being said that it's actually ILLEGAL
to sell DVD's from a different region. It's also rather humorous
how the value of the DVD's is stated as if this were some kind of
a drug or weapon bust. And it's rather chilling to find out that apparently
this is not the first time such a thing has happened.
Metro, Wednesday 27 June 2001
by Joakim Goksor
"Hundreds of illegal DVD's seized by Swedish Police"
Gothenburg - Hundreds of illegal DVD's were seized when the
Police's enforcement officer carried out a civil search on the
"TV-Spelborsen" store located in the Femman building yesterday.
The films are all so-called "Region 1" DVD's, reserved for the American
market and therefore forbidden for retail sale in Europe.
The raid was part of a coordinated action against the retail-chain's
location in central Stockholm, where a similar raid netted several
hundred DVD films.
In all, around 500 DVD's were seized, with an extimated market value of
approximately 150,000 Swedish Kronor, or US$15,000.
In a previous Swedish case with approximately the same number of seized
DVD's, a retailer was sentenced to a fine of approximately 500,000
Swedish Kronor -- US$50,000.