U.S. Marshals Raid 'Thriving' Palm Springs DVD Piracy Operation

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.—Thursday morning, U.S. marshals acting on a court order issued Oct. 10 raided a home and warehouse belonging to David Aldorf, who, according to a press release issued Friday by Davyd Dixon Entertainment on behalf of clients Media Partners and BelAmi, is "the notorious ne’er-do-well behind Media West Entertainment, a pirate-DVD operation that’s been selling thousands of copies of releases from major gay-porn studios like BelAmi, Falcon, Jocks, Raging Stallion, Treasure Island and Chaos Men."

The order was issued by U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner following a default judgment he issued in July that awarded the plaintiffs $4,975,000 plus attorneys fees in a case that was originally filed in December 2011 by Media Partners and BelAmi.

According to attorney D Gill Sperlein, who represnted the plaintiffs in the case, "Early [Thursday] morning half a dozen armed U.S. federal marshals wearing bullet-proof vests conducted a raid on David Aldorf's warehouse and private residence resulting in the seizure of thousands of DVDs from BelAmi and Media Partner's CockyBoys line listed in the court judgment and more.  In fact, the raid proved it was much worse than we even thought because in addition to thousands of copies of the 33 titles listed in the seizure order thousands more copies from other well known studios were discovered."

Indeed, the court order directed the marshals to seize infringed upon DVDs for the two studios only and named 33 specific titles the officers were to look for, but upon entrance to the locations, law enforcement found "thousands more DVDs in plain sight from Falcon, Raging Stallion, JOCKS, Treasure Island, Dark Alley, Bait Bus, EuroCreme, Men.com, Next Door, Staxus, Helix Studios, Chaos Men, and more."

Despite the July judgment, the PR also claims that "even after the judgment Mr. Aldorf continued to not only replicate the DVDs but also continued to distribute them via his mail order business and online websites essentially giving away top selling titles from BelAmi and CockyBoys amongst others for free in order to sell his other product."

The press release stated that Aldorf was not present during the raid because he was in the hospital suffering from kidney stones, but that two of his employees were present, though it's unclear if they were arrested or not.

Sperlein added, "With so much attention paid to online piracy these days I hope this highlights the huge problem the DVD business has been facing for over a decade; people like David Aldorf going unchecked for years while making money on the back of hardworking producers, single handedly helping to kill off the DVD business as we know it.  Those days are soon over and next we will be looking at the replicators and printers who knowingly aid people who illegally pirate and distribute other people's content.

"Shockingly," he added, "during the raid documents in plain view were discovered that showed Mr. Aldorf was using one of the industry's largest replicators to replicate much of the products  being pirated in addition to a brand new in-house replication system which was discovered as well.  This was a large scale, fully functioning and thriving operation. "  

BelAmi COO Stuart Davis commented, "Today is a victory not only for BelAmi and Media Partners but really for anyone in the DVD business.  BelAmi has seen strong DVD sales even given a market that is being killed off left and right.  The more people like David Aldorf that are stopped the better the chances of BelAmi and other studios will have continued success with our DVD lines in the years to come. Let this be a reminder to pirates that there are companies who will fight to protect our content."

Hugo Harley Media Partners Director of Development & Product Management, said of the raid that it was "a great example of two power-house companies coming together and sticking it out to fight the good fight at the expense of time and money in order to stop someone who was knowingly and willingly harming our business and the entire industry. Too often people like David Aldorf are left alone and given free rein to continue to illegally produce and distribute other people's content."

He added, "Media Partners has been tracking and fighting this pirate for the last 2 years on behalf of producers they represent, at great cost, time and effort.  David Aldorf was selling many of our other product lines well below COST and we needed this stopped both for our producers and legitimate wholesale buyers. Media Partner's other producers  who have had their works infringed on are Cobra Video, Eboys, EuroCreme, Video Boys, and Alpha Male Media."

The press release also spoke in some detail to the way in which Aldorf  perpetrated his crimes.  "The trade/brand names that David Aldorf DBA Media West Entertainment is using and that the mail order flyers come from are JrDVD.com and Junior releasing," it said. "His mail order catalog lists 100s of DVDs for sales as low as $5 each while giving others away for free, these are what alerted Media Partners to the activity.  It's been hard for producers to get copies of the  pirated product he was selling because customers each have to use secret a password that was attached to their flyer when ordering.  His latest trade name is MaleMall.com. Clearly trying to confuse customers by treading  on Media Partners highly successful StudMall/StudMall.com DVD brand which is trademarked."

The Oct. 10 Order directing the U.S. marshal to seize the counterfeit propetry can be read here.