New York law enforcement authorities announced Thursday the seizure of more than 10,000 counterfeit DVDs of Nigerian movies after complaints by the African country's "Nollywood" film industry about rampant piracy.
Investigators under District Attorney Charles Hynes in Brooklyn allege they found 10,300 pirated DVDs featuring films like "Material Girl," "Mind Games," the "Governor's Gift" and "Stolen Will."
They also say they found high-volume disc copying machines, hundreds of blank DVDs, and pre-printed labels for movies in the nine stores targeted.
"The villains in this drama are the shop owners who peddle pirated DVDs, a crime that is tantamount to outright theft," Hynes said.
"The sale of bootleg and counterfeit goods deprives the city and state of New York of millions of dollars in sales tax revenue at a time when we all need it most, and it deprives the artists who made the movies of their well-deserved proceeds."
Tony Abulu, president of the Filmmakers Association of Nigeria, thanked Hynes for the crackdown, saying "the African film industry in the United States is a veritable revenue generator for Africa and the infringement of copyrighted African films in the US will not be tolerated."
Known as "Nollywood," the Nigerian movie industry has in recent years galloped ahead of Hollywood -- at least in terms of sheer output -- to rank second to India's Bollywood.
A UNESCO study last year placed Nollywood second to Bollywood in terms of the numbers of films produced, with Hollywood trailing in third position. In 2006 for example, Nigeria churned out 872 productions against 485 in the United States.