There is no single foolproof way to identify a bootleg DVD. If there was, bootleggers would simply adjust their efforts accordingly. Fortunately, identifying a bootleg DVD is not as hard as it might otherwise seem. Most bootleggers leave blatant clues as to the copyright infringing nature of their wares. Why do they do this? Some are merely catering to a specific demographic. Many Asian countries have extremely lax copyright enforcement, engendering a glut of bootleg DVDs. Such DVDs often have Asian characters on the front, Asian subtitles and misspelled English words.
Another reason bootleggers may make their copying so obvious is to dissuade honest citizens from purchasing their wares. I have sneaking suspicion that bootleggers do not want the fakes so close to the real thing that purchasers are not aware of the sham until after the purchase. Bootleggers simply do not want to run the risk of accidentally duping a copyright attorney. Such attorneys, and now you, have the knowledge of how to report such copyright infringements. It is simply not worth the $10 profit on the sale to bring down a host of agencies reviewing their practices. Unfortunately, I believe there are enough less than honest purchasers out there to allow the copyright infringers to make a tidy profit while keeping prying eyes away.
The next several blog posts will explain how to identify bootleg DVDs. They will also explain how to report sellers if you find yourself the unfortunate purchaser of an illegal bootleg DVD.