Tips For Buying Genuine DVD's and not Pirates

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If you enjoy watching movies, and have spent money on a decent TV and speaker set up, you really want to make sure you are getting the best out of it.
A fuzzy picture, distorted sound, coughs from the cinema audience and a shaking camcorder are not going to make for a great viewing experience.

So how can you make sure that you are buying a genuine DVD, and what can you do if you have bought a pirate?

Before You Buy

The first things to look for in the auction listing are that if the TV programme is still being shown on Sky or Channel 4 etc, then it's not a genuine DVD.
The same applies to any films still showing, or yet to be shown at the local multiplex.
Many Disney films are released for a short while, and then withdrawn from sale.
If a Disney DVD is advertised as Region Free, or Region 0, it is a fake DVD, as they are always released in the UK as Region 2 DVD's.

Other tell-tale warning signs in the listing are the use of words and phrases such as "picture quality", "public domain", or any kind of message to ebay pleading for the item not to be closed down.

Of course, one of the selling points for pirate DVD's is the cost, if a DVD appears to be to cheap to be true, the latest TV series boxset for under a tenner? Then it is too good to be true, and will almost certainly be a fake.
If the seller says that they ship in a plastic wallet to save on postage costs, again this means it is a fake.
All wholesalers of genuine DVD's sell the films with the right type of case (the Amaray style).

Other things to look for are the picture of the DVD on the listing, does it show the BBFC rating?
The other is of course feedback, if the seller has lots of negatives for selling copies, chances are that the DVD you are looking at is a copy to.

After You Buy

So, you've bought the DVD, and now you are not sure if it is genuine or not.

Does the artwork have Chinese writing?
Is the artwork as crisp and clear as you would expect?
Again does it have the BBFC rating on the cover, and if it is a North American DVD, does it have the subtitles you would expect?
Look at the disc itself, does the artwork look of the quality a studio would be happy to release?
What colour is the playing side of the disc, if it is Gold, Blue, Purple, it is a copy.

When you play the disc, is the sound only stereo, when you expected 5.1?
Is the picture grainy and pixelated?

What Do You Do Next?

Firstly, complain to the seller, and inform them that you want a refund, if they refuse, and you paid by paypal, then a Item Significantly Not As Described claim can be made.
I'd always encourage leaving feedback saying that the item was a pirate, as a warning to others.

If the seller is a large scale seller, then report them to their local trading standards, to ebay, the movie studio who released the film, and to FACT (The Federation Against Copyright Theft).

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