Electronic Arts, Turkish Customs Net Thousands of Counterfeit Video Game Products in Istanbul
Illegal Copies Valued at More Than $300,000 Seized in Company's Second Major Enforcement Action
SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 22, 1998--Working on information provided by California-based Electronic Arts(TM)(NASDAQ:ERTS), the industry's largest entertainment software publisher, and its local distributor, Aral Ithalat, Ltd., customs authorities in Turkey seized over six thousand counterfeit video game products arriving in Turkey from Malaysia during the last weeks.
The retail value of the seized products exceeds US$300,000. Many of the discs were illegal copies of Electronic Arts' software products, including the newly released and enormously popular World Cup 98. This successful series of raids follows a similar action taken two weeks ago in Singapore.
As a result of the seizures, owners of the importing company have been criminally charged by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor. If found guilty, the importers could face up to five years imprisonment, up to three years ban from working in the sector and heavy financial penalties.
Working with authorities, Electronic Arts and its distributor continue actions at retail shops, with recent raids at major shopping centers netting a further 800 illegally copied CDs.
"Electronic Arts, our local distributor and the Turkish authorities have worked together on this important event to stem the flow of illegal software into Turkey from places in Asia such as Malaysia," said Peter Laughton, export sales manager of Electronic Arts Limited in the UK, which manages the Turkish territory. "These raids are part of our continuing efforts to combat piracy in key new markets such as Turkey."
According to Chris Chapin, Electronic Arts' director of intellectual property enforcement, "Thanks to the fine efforts of Turkish Customs, we were able to prevent distribution into Turkey of thousands of counterfeit products worth several hundred thousand dollars.
"We are grateful for the assistance of the Turkish authorities in carrying out these actions. We plan to target the source exports from Malaysia next and hope authorities there will be as responsive to this theft of Electronic Arts' property as the Turkish authorities were." Chapin noted that last year alone, counterfeiting cost Electronic Arts losses of well over US$300 million dollars around the globe.
The video game industry's trade group, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), estimates that worldwide theft of intellectual property costs the industry more than US$3.2 billion a year.
"Only with the continued assistance of those like Turkish Customs are we able to thwart these pirates," said IDSA president Doug Lowenstein. "These seizures send a message to exporters in Asia that this industry is monitoring their exports. We will continue to press customs at these and other ports throughout the world to seize and destroy illegal interactive entertainment software."
Electronic Arts, headquartered in San Mateo, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of $909 million for fiscal year 1998.
The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation(R) and Nintendo(R) 64. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.ea.com.
Note to Editors: Electronic Arts is a trademark or registered trademark of Electronic Arts in the United States and/or other countries. World Cup 98 is an official licensed product of the FIFA World Cup France 98. PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Nintendo 64 is a trademark of Nintendo of America Inc.