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Bootleg DVDs and Online Auctions

Listed below are some signs that an online auction seller may be trafficking in bootleg DVDs in violation of federal copyright laws. Remember, while most bootleg DVD auctions exhibit one or more of these signs, some of these signs might be present in a perfectly legitimate auction. By the same token, there may be a bootleg auction which does not exhibit any of these signs. The following are simply things that may indicate a little more investigation may be in order before making a purchase.

Signs an online DVD auction may be for a bootleg DVD

Contact the seller and ask them directly if the DVD us a bootleg or import.
If they do not respond or respond with anything other than an unqualified “No” you should probably pass.

Does the seller have negative feedback stating seller sells bootlegs?
1-2% of feedbacks stating the seller sells bootlegs should be enough to indicate a potential problem.

Does the seller have less than thirty positive feedbacks and/or has only been a registered member for less than one year?
Although new or low feedback sellers are often legitimate, you can probably find the DVD from another seller with more of a track record.

Is the seller is from Asia?
This is not only an indicator that the seller may be trafficking in bootleg DVDs, it is much harder to pursue an international seller for a refund.

Does the auction state “artwork may different”?
Without a legitimate explanation as to why the artwork differs, you are probably looking at an auction for a bootleg DVD.

Does the auction promote a liberal return policy and strongly advise contacting seller before leaving negative feedback?
If only 10% of people recognize that the DVD is a bootleg and the rest get a refund, the seller can keep their feedback rating high and still turn a huge profit.

Is the DVD a rare or unreleased movie?
If the movie is unreleased, it is likely a bootleg. If the movie is rare, double check everything and be very cautious before you buy.

Brett Trout

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