Even if a retailer purchases a
video product of a motion picture title, the law prohibits him or her
copying it. Only the copyright holder
can authorize the copying of the work for any reason.
For the same reasons it is
law to rent or sell unauthorized copies made by someone else. In other
words, if someone acquires an illegal copy,
that individual cannot legally rent or sell that copy.
Several studios also include
on original videocassettes. These can appear in the form of a silver or
gold hologram or a small rectangular
sticker with the studio's name and are usually applied to the right butt end of the cassette shell and wrap around the bottom of the sleeve.
In most cases, legitimate
are manufactured without an erasure tab evidenced by a smooth surface.
Moreover, the majority of legitimate
videocassettes are now being manufactured with generic (no name) cassette shells.
Unauthorized copies can appear from quite crude to very sophisticated as follows:
(a) handwritten or typewritten face labels;
(b) photocopied black and white or full colour labels;
(c) magazine "cut-out" labels, or;
(d) illegal lab "knock-offs" - reproduced professionally with die-cut labels and boxes. They can appear very convincing to the untrained eye. Closer scrutiny however, reveals printing and die-cuts
not as sharp or precise as with legitimate copies. Security characteristics such as heat stamps,
laser imprints,studio holograms and stickers are missing.
The unauthorized copies are usually inferior in all respects and are visually distinguishable from genuine videocassetes. It is noteworthy that Picture and sound quality is significantly affected.
Retailers should be wary of videocassettes being offered by questionable unknown sources at significantly reduced prices, usually for cash and without receipts.
Retailers and consumers should be alert when purchasing or renting videocassettes and report any suspicious product or suspects to the CMPDA's Anti-Piracy Operations by either calling the Hotline or clicking on the Report Piracy link at the bottom of this page.
Illegal duplication of video products hurts everyone. Consumers who rent or purchase inferior unauthorized copies are rarely satisfied customers. They may take their business elsewhere once they notice the difference in quality between legitimate videocassettes and illegal copies.
The film companies and their distributors, who are in the business of selling legal video products, are hurt by these illegal copies as well. Only one third of all films recoup their production, marketing and distribution costs.
Of course, illegal copying hurts the honest video retail store which is forced to compete with the store dealing in illegally duplicated videos.
Legal SanctionsPersons convicted of engaging in the unauthorized duplication and/or distribution of video products
face paying a heavy price. If a person is found duplicating videocassettes for rental or sale, that
individual may be subject to criminal convictions bearing fines to a maximum of $25,000 per count
or charge upon summary conviction and up to $1,000,000 for an indictable offence, plus
imprisonment. Convicted pirates are subject to seizure of all illegal copies, the equipment used
to make them and the legitimate copies that were used as "masters". All items seized are usually
forfeited or destroyed. Guilty parties are also subject to civil actions for damages.