80m fake DVDs bought every year in the UK

The market for counterfeit goods is bigger than ever in the UK, with fake DVDs being the most popular product.

Thanks to the development in the high-definition TV and camcorder markets, the prevalence of counterfeit DVDs is growing year on year, according to the BBC’s The Money Programme.

The British Video Association has estimated that some 80 million fake DVDs were sold last year in Britain, with the total value of counterfeit goods in the UK representing a value of £11 billion.

Unprecedented quality

“The quality of copies now achievable through HD TVs and camcorders is unprecedented, making it acceptable to most or all general consumers,” a Money Programme press release stated.

While the government and the film industry is getting serious on tackling the matter, watermarking technology has become more common. One product, VideoMark, from security firm Verimatrix can even track video piracy to the source through its intelligent watermarking system.

Verimatrix’s VideoMark forensic watermarking technology establishes a virtual ‘chain of custody’ for content that accurately identifies the source of unauthorised copies.


The watermark is embedded in the content itself and remains even if the movie clip has been decrypted, decoded and possibly re-encoded to another file. Some more robust watermarks will survive the transition from digital to analogue and back. Even if someone has filmed a movie on their high-def camcorder and transferred into an electronic copy, the watermark will remain.

“While it does not prevent the problem it can serve as a deterrent and possible means of prosecution for those responsible,” a Verimatrix spokesperson said.

'The Money Programme: Britain's Favourite Fakes', focusing on the trade of counterfeit goods in the UK, will be shown on BBC2 tonight at 7pm.