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New York Video Piracy Ring Busted

August 21, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Video pirates offering current film titles including, ``The Blair Witch Project,″ ``Eyes Wide Shut,″ and ``Bowfinger″ saw the curtain fall on their operation last week, authorities said.

Police announced Friday that they have seized nearly 30,000 counterfeit videotapes _ worth at least $150,000 _ and arrested 11 people.

The ring allegedly was run out of a warehouse in Brooklyn, where the copies were made, and a luggage storefront in Manhattan. Using hundreds of videocassette recorders, the ring was capable of producing 500 bootleg cassettes every two hours, authorities said.

Had the tapes been sold on the street, they would have cost the movie industry $1.5 million in lost ticket sales at theaters and future video sales and rentals, Police Commissioner Howard Safir said.