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Do you suspect a site is selling bootleg DVDs? Enter the URL (the address) of the site into the text field below and hit the "enter" key, or "submit" to search our database of 1233 known bootleg sites.
A valid URL looks like http://www.nameofbootlegsite.com, or www.nameofbootlegsite.com
- What is a bootleg DVD?
A bootleg DVD is an unauthorized copy not released by the rights holder.
- How are these bootlegs obtained?
Most are recorded off TV, and contain original elements of the broadcast. Other bootlegs are copies of DVDs released by the rights holder. The bootleg sets are burned to DVD-R discs in large-scale operations, then packaged up and sold. In December, 2007, the RCMP raided a Montreal piracy ring and discovered 200 burners which could burn 14,000 discs a day.
- What's the quality of these sets like?
Simple put, very poor. We've had people report discs that don't play, episodes that don't work, or aren't included, poor quality audio and video, episodes containing commercials, or other network promos, TV station logos in the corners, discs containing episodes from other shows, and shoddy packaging. These bootleg sites are set up to make money, not to ensure their customers are happy, and most people we've spoken to are unable to get their money back, despite what the bootleg sites say. Once they have your money they have no interest in providing further support.
- How can I spot a bootleg DVD?
Most sites selling bootlegs advertise them in the following ways:
- Complete series
- Region 0, Region free, or "Playable in all DVD players"
You can also check the listings on TVShowsOnDVD.com. If Fox had released The Wonder Years or the 1966 Batman series we'd list it on the site. If you don't see a complete series set listed on the site then chances are it's a bootleg set. If you find an obscure show, and it's not listed, then let us know and we'll add it to the site.
- Wait, I saw some DVD-Rs on Amazon.com. Are those bootlegs?
Amazon, through deals with rights holders, offers some shows burned onto DVD-Rs. These are sold directly through Amazon.com, and contain the following note in the product information: "This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media." Be sure to check to see the product is listed as "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com" for these titles.
- How are these websites still operating?
Most of them use private registration services to hide their domain names, operate outside of North America, and use servers based overseas. This makes it difficult, but not impossible, for them to be tracked down. They also change their names constantly to avoid the bad PR that comes with selling low-quality products to unsuspecting customers.
- But I saw the DVD set advertised on Google AdSense, doesn't that mean it's safe? How about Amazon, eBay or iOffer?
No! Despite Google having a policy against using the service to promote illegal products (4 Prohibited Uses; License Grant; Representations and Warranties. Customer shall not, and shall not authorize any party to: (c) advertise anything illegal or engage in any illegal or fraudulent business practice.), they still take advertising from bootleg sites. Google AdSense is the single largest promoter of bootleg sites on the internet, and Google doesn't seem interested in putting an end to this practice.
- I ordered one of these sets without knowing it was a bootleg. How do I get my money back?!
Call your credit card company, do NOT contact the site that sold you the DVDs. Your credit card company is there to protect you from being ripped off, and if you report this fraud (assuming you didn't know you were buying a bootleg DVD in the first place) then they'll open an investigation which will likely result in the refund of your money. Most credit card companies will give you 90 days from the time of the order to dispute the charges. We've heard from some people who contacted the seller and were told a refund was coming, but never processed. If a credit card company receives enough complaints then the seller's credit card processing abilities can be revoked. We've heard from many people who successfully received a refund after contacting their credit card company.
- Where can I complain about a site selling bootleg DVDs?
If you're in the US you should report the site to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) using this email address: ReportPiracy@mpaa.org. Canadians can report bootleg sites to the RCMP contacts listed at the bottom of this page. You can also file reports on Complaintsboard.com.
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