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What are “bootleg” DVDs?

The term “bootleg” originally referred to illegal items, typically smuggled in a boot. Today, the term applies to a much broader category of material. Bootleg refers to any type of pirated, gray-market or counterfeit goods.

“Pirated”? DVDs are most often illegal copies of commercially available DVDs. In many cases, no attempt is made to replicate the packaging or artwork of the original DVD. Pirated DVDs are often DVD-Rs having a blue or purple face.

“?Gray-market”? DVDs are DVDs legitimately sold in another country. Such DVDs are often sold under the terms of a license agreement which prohibits their sale in another country where the DVDs are typically sold for a much higher price. Once such DVDs are brought into another country for sale, they become illegal gray-market DVDs.

“Counterfeit”? DVDs are illegal copies of commercial DVDs. Unlike pirate DVDs, counterfeit DVDs are made to look like the commercial version. Often the distributor or purchaser is not even aware the DVD is a counterfeit.

Regardless of whether the DVD is pirated, gray-market or counterfeit, the sale or purchase of any of these types of “bootleg”? DVDs constitutes copyright infringement. While small scale copyright infringement may subject you to a civil lawsuit for damages i.e. (money), larger sales may subject you to criminal penalties including fines and possibly even a prison term.

Brett Trout

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