AICO Settles Oz DVD Piracy Cases

SYDNEY - The Adult Industry Copyright Organization (AICO) has settled two long-running DVD piracy cases on behalf of some of porn's biggest studios and their Australian distributors.

AICO settled for $500,000 (AUD) in the copyright infringement case against Prestige Club Australasia, and $600,000 in a similar case against Venus Shops. The owners of Prestige Club and Venus were also required to make "full and frank admissions" of their own personal liability, as opposed to the liability of their "$2 shelf companies."

The cases involved bootlegged copies of DVDs produced by Titan Media, Vivid, Wicked Digital Playground, New Sensations, Digital Sin, Evil Angel, Private, Digital Playground, Zero Tolerance, Third Degree, Red Light District, Falcon, Mustang, Jocks, Acid Rain, and Colossal. AICO represented the studios and their Australian licensees Calvista Australia, Gallery Entertainment and Greenwich Technologies.

Venus Adult Shops operates adult video stores in several New South Wales locations. Prestige Club runs an adult DVD mail-order catalog and website.

In both cases, the defendants had argued that because the sale of adult videos is illegal in much of Australia, the material was not entitled to copyright protection. The Australian courts rejected that defense.

"Our legal advice was that this 'illegality' issue was by no means a defense to copyright infringement, a fact that had been previously borne out by the courts," said Malcom Day of, the online retail arm of Calvista Australia.

The courts have permanently barred the defendants from dealing in adult product made by AICO member studios. As a result, both PCA and Venus are now in talks with CalVista Australia about selling the movies legally.

“Our objective is to level the playing field and ensure that adult stores, websites, catalogs and wholesalers do not continue to sell pirated films from AICO member studios," Day said. 

Prestige Club's co-defendants in the piracy case included adult mail-order vendor Top End Media and brick-and-mortar retailer Kaosshop. The owners of Kaosshop had previously admitted to bootlegging Wicked Pictures DVDs in a separate case.

"These substantial settlements conclude piracy cases that have been hard-fought over the past two to three years," said AICO executive officer Graeme Dunne. "They vindicate AICO's anti-piracy activities and should serve as glaring examples of the ability and tenacity of AICO, its members, and its legal team to tackle adult DVD piracy head-on."

AICO has one other piracy case before the courts, against Digital Wholesalers. Court proceedings in that case are scheduled to begin Monday.