Beware of Pirates! How to Avoid Bootleg Blu-rays and DVDs, Part 2

Pirate Companies and Distribution

  • There are seemingly endless numbers of pirate labels, all hiding in plain sight
  • Pointing the finger at those hardest to spot: those based in the Western world
  • Worst offenders even infiltrating TV, cinemas and film festivals with stolen goods
  • Illegal online uploads are rife, but even legitimate streaming platforms are infested

This article is part of a series; if you’ve landed directly on this page I strongly recommend you start from Part 1.

Beware of Pirates sign 2


Contents


American, European and Antipodean pirate labels

This list can never be exhaustive: many of the distributor, label and sub-label names listed on sleeves are meaningless. They’re seemingly conjured out of thin air and are swapped around at random. On the rare occasions that pirates are successfully sued they simply declare themselves bankrupt, dissolve the company and start up again under a different name. Though those below are among the worst offenders and crop up regularly, the best way to avoid counterfeits altogether is to follow this checklist. In common with most “public domain” labels selling a mixture of copyrighted and actual PD material, some pirates muddy the waters by also selling what, to all intents and purposes, appears to be officially licensed product. Make no mistake though: the vast majority of labels on this list are 100% thieves. Even with the very few ‘better’ ones, approach with extreme caution, as I guarantee a significant percentage of their inventory is still ripped off. Again, this is more common with older titles, as it’s easier to palm them off as PD without anyone paying due diligence.

Australia

  • Avenue One aka RBC Entertainment
  • Bounty Films – founded by Tony Romeo, ex-of Force; more on both
  • Force Entertainment
  • rareandcollectibledvds – shady sideline of BPS Video Services
  • Siren Visual

Brazil

  • ClassicLine
  • Continental Multimedia
  • Obras-Primas do Cinema

Canada

France

  • Aventi
  • Bach Films
  • Collection Ciné-Club – affiliated with FSF
  • Ermitage Cinema – also trade as HK Editions; see Italy listing
  • Films sans Frontières (FSF) – owned by über pirate Galeshka Moravioff; lots more here
  • Harmonia Mundi – affiliated with FSF
  • Japan Eiga (formerly Sasori 41) aka Cyril Descans – based in Paris, specialises in DVD-Rs of copyrighted Eastern Asian films. Most are available in better quality on legit releases; his few PD (pre-1925) titles are mainly rips of others’ copyrighted restorations.
  • RDM Video (RDMV) aka RDM Edition and Inconnu
  • Votre marque

Germany

  • Eyecatcher Movies aka New Entertainment – run by Siegfried Varga; see here, here, here and here
  • Great Movies – release under a host of names, including Best Entertainment, Crest Movies, daredo, Delta Music & Entert., div, Edel Germany, Indigo, Soulfood, White Pearl Movies, WME Home-Entertainment and many others. They also pirate Alfred Hitchcock’s films extensively.
  • Laser Paradise – affiliated with WME; see comments
  • MIG Film GmbH aka MIG Filmgroup – release DVD boots as Endless Classics, MeToo-Trading, MT Films, Mr Banker Films, Maritim Pictures, etc
  • unconfirmed; see comments

Italy

  • A&R Productions
  • Artist First Digital – affiliated with Quadrifoglio
  • CG (Cecchi Gori) Entertainment/CG Home Video – distributors affiliated with Ermitage, Sinister Film and others
  • Cinema International Media – affiliated with Llamentol
  • Cineteca
  • Cult Media
  • CVC
  • Dania Film
  • DNA aka Millennium Storm
  • DVD Storm
  • Enjoy Movies – affiliated with Punto Zero Film
  • Ermitage Cinema – based in both Milan and Paris; also trade as Dcult and Dynit
  • Explosion Video
  • Golem Video
  • Griffe
  • Mosaico Media
  • Mya Communication – closed down and currently trading as One 7 Movies, with all releases in both Italy and US; run by Salvatore Alongi and Marcello Rossi who left their former otherwise legitimate company, NoShame/No Shame Films, in 2007 after emptying its coffers and getting it in legal trouble for using unlicensed transfers[1]; more info
  • Passworld
  • Penny Video – DVDs often omit original audio
  • Pulp Video
  • Punto Zero Film
  • Quadrifoglio – also trade as Digital Studio, Cine Storm and Stormovie
  • Sinister Film – run by Nicola Compagnini; no relation to Sinister Cinema (US), a so-called ‘public domain’ label who also sell bootlegs
  • Studio 4K – 40-odd BDs from 2013–2015; defunct
  • Terminal Video Italia – distributors affiliated with many pirate labels

 Spain

  • Absolute Distribution aka L’Atelier 13, Bang Bang Movies, Carousel Films, Side Street, War & West Movies, etc. Affiliated with Paycom.
  • Art House Media/Paycom Multimedia – Llamentol
  • Blackfire Productions
  • Centipede Films
  • CincoDías
  • Cinecom
  • Creative Films
  • Crin Ediciones – affiliated with Manga Films, Resen and Suevia
  • Feel Films – affiliated with Resen and Suevia
  • IDA Films
  • LaCasaDelCineParaTodos
  • Layons Multimedia
  • Llamentol – affiliated with Mapetac: both have almost-neighbouring registered addresses in Vilassar de Mar and de Dalt, Barcelona
  • Manga Films
  • Mapetac – affiliated with Resen; sub-labels: Bestseller Entertainment, BƐTa, BioMovies, CineClub Channel, Cinema International Media, CineStudio, ClassicMedia, dhx, 5 TeleCinco, premium cine/vídeo, RHI Entertainment and Track Media
  • Memory Screen
  • Mon Inter Comerz – affiliated with Llamentol
  • Nacadih Video
  • Naimara Producciones
  • New Line Films – not to be confused with New Line Home Video/Entertainment
  • No Limits Films
  • Paycom Multimedia – affiliated with Llamentol
  • Producciones JRB – affiliated with Layons Multimedia
  • Regasa Clau Promocions S.L./SL
  • Regasa Films
  • Regia Films – given to making empty threats against those who question their legality
  • Resen (Research Entertainment) – the dirty dogfather of Spanish pirates and linked to just about all the others
  • Restaura Films – one-man band run by Jorge Massa Saboya, an expat Spaniard currently residing in the US and attempting to establish Spanish and US distribution for his pirated transfers. Though most are copyrighted, a few of the titles in his “catalogue” are indeed PD, but even they are all stolen from others’ restored BDs.
  • SatanMedia – Llamentol
  • Seleccion Classicos
  • Sotelysa aka Sogemedia
  • Suevia Films – affiliated with Feel and Resen; unrelated to the 1940–1983 Spanish film studio of the same name
  • Tribanda Pictures – affiliated with JRB
  • Vértice Cine
  • Yowu Entertainment

UK

  • Giallo Goblin
  • ZDDvisualmedia aka ZDDVM

US

  • AFA Entertainment – run by Adeeb Barsoum, who specialises in releasing DVDs of cropped and stretched 4:3 aspect ratio films to fill 16:9 AR widescreen TVs
  • Alfred’s Place – run by Al Chafin, who has sold DVD-Rs of everything by Hitchcock and other copyrighted works for years
  • Alpha Video/Home Entertainment aka Gotham (DBA Alpha) and Oldies.com – run by Jerry Greene, his daughter Melissa Greene-Anderson (interview) and many others. Sell some licensed product, but the staggering amount of  CD, DVD and streaming pirates on their books (1,000s; far more than many 100% bootleggers) merits inclusion on this list. They hide in plain sight and even have their own Wikipedia page, though it’s mostly edited by sock puppet accounts.
  • Artiflix
  • Asian Cult Cinema – aka industrious thief Thomas Weisser, who has also self-published an eponymous book and magazine
  • Bruce’s Bijou
  • Catcom Home Video
  • Cheezy Flicks – subjected to numerous lawsuits for copyright theft, eg they made a fortune for bootlegging just one title, then claimed to be bankrupt – but are still thieving!
  • Cinema de Bizarre
  • Cult Action
  • Desert Island Films – DVD-R and digital rip-offs
  • Digiview Entertainment – supposedly PD label who were sued for piracy and bit the dust
  • dvdcoming – TV show sets, done cheap and nasty
  • EarthStation1 aka Mediaoutlet – run by shameless self-promoter J. C. Kaelin, who specialises in ripping off copyrighted TV and radio material, often pirating official releases
  • Echelon Studios – US-based DVD-R and digital pirates especially active on Amazon Video in the UK and Germany. Founded by Eric Louzil; more staff. Affiliated with…
  • Film Gorillas/Rabbits – have a colossal amount of stolen, copyrighted content uploaded on Dailymotion with more viewable via subscription at their website. Affiliated with Echelon Studios
  • Harpodeon – run by W. Dustin Alligood, who sells pirated prints from Blackhawk Films and others, then claims copyright in them! Yes, they can be licensed for public exhibition for a fat fee. He’s rude with it, too. Lesser spiritual kin of Alex Staykov, below.
  • Hollywood’s Attic – run by Woody Wise, a self-confessed, convicted veteran pirate; acquired by Nostalgia Family Video in 2004
  • International Historic Films, Inc.
  • J4HI aka Mike Decker – same M.O. as Japan Eiga
  • japanesesamuraidvd aka Eddie Huang – see JH4I
  • Kurotokagi Gumi aka Corey Chapman – see JH4I
  • Loving the Classics
  • Miracle Pictures
  • ModCinema – see comments
  • Movie Buffs Forever
  • MovieDetective
  • Mya Communication, One 7 Movies – see Italy listing
  • Nostalgia Family Video – run by convicted pirate Jeremy Brunner
  • Nostalgia Merchant aka My Video Classics, My Radio Classics and “daviddownhome” on eBay – no relation to the original, legit Nostalgia Merchant (1978–1993), though industrious owner David Robinson has stolen the latter’s name, logo[2] and good reputation. Sadly distributed by otherwise legit MOD DVD manufacturers Allied Vaughn.
  • OnesMedia
  • Passport Video – David Shepard: “The owner of Passport is a sociopath named Dante J. Pugliese.’’
  • PR Studios
  • Reel Vault
  • RetroFilm Vault
  • RetroFlix
  • Silent Hall of Fame – aka Alex Staykov, a liar and scam artist who sells very expensive plain DVD-R rips of legit releases and YouTube uploads via his site for $25-30 “donations”. Banned from many online silent film communities where he tries to peddle his wares; see here, here, here, here, here and here. Also sells on Amazon as “Classic Silent Film Gems” ($28-38), eBay as “yorkmba99” ($28-33 + $14.25-37.50 postage!) and posts pirated vids on his own YouTube channel. On Twitter as @SilentFilmGems. See comments below.
  • Starry Night Video
  • Synergy Ent(ertainment) – run by Jeff Murphy; well over 2,000 titles and I can’t find a single one that’s licensed. Care to prove me wrong, Jeff?
  • Televista – formerly known as Substance, New Star, Morningstar and Jef Films; all run by Jeffrey H. Aikman (obviously self-penned IMDb entry), whose speciality is transferring copyrighted VHS tapes to DVD. Not to be confused with Televisa.
  • Thomas Film Classics
  • Trash Palace
  • Vermont Movie Store
  • VHS Preservation Society – same M.O. as Televista
  • Video Dimensions
  • Vina Distributor/Distribution
  • Vintage Film Buff
  • Wham! USA – affiliated with Televista
  • Zeus DVDs – formerly known as Jubilee DVDs, Queensbury DVDs and Xerxes DVDs
The Black Pirate (1926, Douglas Fairbanks)

Cropped still from Douglas Fairbank‘s The Black Pirate (1926). Only released so far by US Kino on restored Blu-ray and DVD, though it’s been bootlegged by Great Movies in Germany.

In Spain, Research Entertainment are foremost among the most prolific bootleggers – to the extent that “Resen” is Spanish slang for a pirate or bootleg. A well-earned, poetically negative example of genericisation.

Note Australia is also plagued by more than its share of piracy and back in their bad old beginnings, the UK’s now-esteemed Eureka label was partial to partnering with antipodean thieves in regularly ripping off other small labels. Even mainstream British newspapers have got in on the act.

Incidentally, it’s generally much safer to buy UK-originated releases with near-impunity: While there are numerous ‘smaller’ volume DVD-R-only sellers everywhere, especially all over eBay, I’m unaware of any large scale pirating or bootlegging operations based in this country. With a few notable exceptions, the situation is quite similar in Germany; that makes two of the five biggest film markets in the EU. Most strange when you consider that the other three, France, Italy and Spain, are absolutely rife with them. Most EU nations are assiduous about enforcing copyright laws and at some point I’d like to investigate the exact reason for the disparity. If anyone can shed any light on this, please get in touch.

[1] When initially researching this article I was informed NoShame had bootlegs on their books. NoShame founder/owner Michele De Angelis has since clarified matters and the entry has been amended accordingly.


Pirate TV and cinema distribution

The really established thieving companies and individuals affect legitimate businesses more profoundly than you could ever imagine. As well as the de facto discs in many countries, they illegally distribute TV and theatrical releases, and litter unwitting but otherwise legal VOD (video on demand) sites. And all from stolen prints and copies. Feel Films, La Casa Del Cine, Llamentol and Films sans Frontières in particular are old hands at this. The owner of the latter company, Galeshka Moravioff, even set up his own chain of cinemas to help facilitate his industrial scale piracy. These too were run using his usual underhanded tactics of threats and intimidation but eventually closed down anyway, as you can read here, here and here. He and his ilk often even have the nerve to use legal means to suppress legitimate distribution. For instance, they’ll get their lawyers to fire off a quick warning to TV stations intending to broadcast certain films, claiming that they, the thieves, actually own the rights and not the official distributors. It usually has the intended effect of causing the TV stations to back away from broadcasting any disputed material completely, until the ‘competing’ distributors settle their differences. Thankfully, these frivolous claims seldom actually go anywhere, but kosher companies are again financially wounded, both by being unable to earn money on their own properties and by wasting huge sums on legal fees. Of course, they’re competing on a very uneven playing field: those who have spent a lifetime lying and stealing to get what they want are far more practised in the art of deception than decent, hard-working folk trying to earn an honest living.

Moravioff’s deviousness knows no bounds; I have to hand it to the guy: he’s devised more ways of monetising his theft than anyone I’ve come across. For instance, he’s in the habit of fraudulently licensing “his” stolen transfers to uninformed, legitimate home video labels like IVC in Japan, Zima in Mexico and others. In 2012, he took it several steps further by scamming YouTube out of €123,000. This is certainly worthy of more investigation, as it seems he did it by lying about having the rights to various films that were uploaded to the site without his “permission”. I bet YouTube/Google would love to get their own back! More on him in Part 3.

Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926)

Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926)


Digital piracy

Though the focus here is on piracy of physical media, as those formats continue to cede popularity to online platforms, digital pirates are increasingly becoming the norm. Amazon Video and other ostensibly legit streaming and download sites are also infested with illegal uploads from many of the companies listed above. Another unscrupulous individual to come to light, in March 2017, is Guido Baechler, founder and director of the obscure Lucerne International/Independent Film Festival (he can’t seem to make his mind up). For years, in a manner closely mirroring Maravioff’s, this odious parasite has been openly selling digital copies of films that have screened at his festival. In a perverse move, he’s misappropriated copyright laws to steal from the very rights holders they were designed to protect. To really add insult to injury, he’s even been crediting himself as a producer on many of said films. Read this exposé:

In the interest of fairness, you can read his lengthy rebuttal (archived copy) of the IndieWire article’s claims, but his arguments are as leaky as a sieve. For some reason, Baechler subsequently removed said rebuttal; perhaps in time even he came to realise his actions were utterly indefensible. The world is full of liars and thieves and ’twas ever thus, but the likes of Maravioff and Baechler have elevated their loathsome activities to a brazen art form.

February 2018 update: Baechler’s scam festival now seems to have died a complete death – bloody good riddance.

Part 2: Pirate Companies and Distribution


42 Comments

  1. ereimjh
    May 19, 00:53 Reply
    Thank you, Brent. I'm afraid I've been a little too indiscriminate in my DVD buying habits. Over the past five years I've amassed quite a collection, and most of it's from legit, licensed companies, but I've got a few from companies that are on this list, too. Most recently I bought a couple of titles off of Amazon (who definitely need to be more proactive in rooting this stuff out) from Reel Vault. Henceforth, I'll be avoiding them and the other companies on this list. Live and learn, as they say. I'm keeping this article bookmarked. Cheers.
    • Brent Reid
      July 02, 08:06 Reply
      You're very welcome. I'm afraid Amazon aren't proactive in the slightest and don't look like changing their ways anytime soon. My findings and list aren't definitive but are at least regularly updated. I just wanted to inform and provoke discussion on the subject as no one seemed to have really done so in this manner before.
  2. David
    September 21, 23:02 Reply
    Hi, Brent. Thanks for your great work singling out the pirates to avoid. I do have a question. Is Alex Staykov's SILENT HALL OF FAME which you describe above the same as the website (silent-hall-of-fameDOTorg) which purports to accept donations so that neglected silent stars can get their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? This website gives away and, I guess, sells DVDs from the so-called Silent Gems Collection. Are these the same as Staykov's Classic Silent Film Gems pirated DVDs? David (Tucson, AZ, USA)
    • Brent Reid
      September 22, 10:03 Reply
      You're welcome, David. Yes, they're all one and the same scammer. A correction though: he doesn't give anything away, but some of his cheap DVD-Rs of other peoples' material can be had in return for a "donation". His honeytrap website has been running for over six years now but unsurprisingly, none of his much touted memorial stars have yet appeared, so where's all the money going? As if we didn't know.
  3. David
    September 22, 18:17 Reply
    Thanks, Brent, for your prompt reply. I passed on the link to this page to a poster on Nitrateville who'd just described watching a Silent Hall of Fame video on YouTube. I noticed to my surprise that the recent, somewhat disappointing, rather self-serving film on Alice Guy (BE NATURAL...) by Pamela Green included a surprising end credit to the man behind Jef Films. Somewhat of a shocker to see that. I prefer the quieter 1995 documentary on Alice Guy, THE LOST GARDEN. On another note, is there some sort of site map or navigational aid to Brentonfilm.com? I never can easily find recent updates. When I go to your front page, I only find "updates" from 2015 and 2016. If you'd prefer to reply to me on my personal email, please do. As always, thanks for your great work.
    • Brent Reid
      September 24, 13:22 Reply
      It's particularly disappointing when industry figures themselves lend credibility to pirates, but she's not alone. Other thieves on the above list have featured in well meaning documentaries and the like; you'd think modern filmmakers would be too respectful of others' copyrights to involve them. As for your second point, I've emailed you!
  4. Libby
    September 22, 18:39 Reply
    The really odd thing about Staykov and his SilentGems/Hall of Fame rip-offs of DVD-r copies is that he's still on Ebay with a 100% rating. As if no one has ever complained about getting a copy when he advertises his product as "new." Basically he steals other people's work and removes the copyrighted music track. He replaces this with generic pap. He pulls the same thing on Amazon. I can't believe Ebay and Amazon have not received complaints or notices of copyright infringement. Yet he's still there.
    • Brent Reid
      September 24, 13:45 Reply
      It's a real head-scratcher, Libby, but there are seemingly no end of gullible folk with deep pockets. As Einstein supposedly said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
  5. Ricky
    September 27, 19:02 Reply
    I thought Reel Vault was legit. I’ve purchased a few prints from them and they were really good. Hoppity goes to town is beautiful. It’s a shame
    • Brent Reid
      September 28, 15:04 Reply
      Hi Ricky, As I say in Part 1, there's no real dividing line between most "public domain" labels and outright pirates. I've included on this list those with all or a majority of copyrighted inventory, but in truth many, many more also qualify, though to a lesser degree. Reel Vault sell copyrighted material as wantonly as anyone. For instance, Hoppity/Mr. Bug Goes to Town is owned by Viacom via their acquisition of Paramount who in turn, in 1941, took over the Fleischer Studios, makers of the cartoon, just prior to its release early the following year.
  6. Ricky
    September 28, 21:22 Reply
    Hi Brent I really appreciate your posts and hope it grows. It's a great place for us film collectors to connect. I've also been taken by Staykov and his Silent Hall of SHAME. I bought copies of "Huckleberry Finn" 1920 and the ultra rare "A Burglar by Proxy" 1919. Both were taken from other source material and not restorations by Staykov. In fact, "Proxy" has a masked watermark, and when I contacted Staykov about this, he promptly told me he didn't know what I was talking about. He dupes collectors into believing that we are making "donations" when purchasing his prints which is utter rubbish. I haven't purchased any other DVDs from him as I will not willingly support a Bootlegger.
    • Brent Reid
      September 29, 16:32 Reply
      Thanks, Ricky, and you're welcome. What I'd really like is for Staykov himself to comment here or contact me, to offer a shred of evidence refuting these assertions. But he won't because he can't.
  7. Ricky
    October 10, 17:27 Reply
    Here in the States we have the notorious Alpha Video who dupes their DVD-R garbage from legit sources. Quality of these releases varies greatly based on the source they pirated it from. Their copy of The Most Dangerous Game is sourced from Kino as is The Stranger. They also have copies of Hypnotized 1932 and The Missing Corpse 1945 sourced from another bootlegger named Vintage Film Buff who used 16mm prints transferred to Betacam. I noticed that Amazon UK is selling many of Alpha’s copies so beware.
    • Brent Reid
      October 19, 09:20 Reply
      As I said in Part 1, Ricky, there really is no qualitative difference between labels who only issue bootlegs and those who mostly issue them. Alpha are pretty indiscriminate and certainly down there with the worst of the latter. By the way, it's Criterion's transfer of The Most Dangerous Game that's the source for most budget DVDs, but plenty of Kino's releases have been ripped off too.
  8. Wv
    October 28, 02:07 Reply
    Is ModCinema legit?
    • Brent Reid
      October 29, 11:09 Reply
      Well, I was all set to do some serious digging and asking around copyright holders, etc, but it wasn't necessary: they're obviously bootleggers. They don't own and haven't licensed a single thing on their site. Everything on it – films and TV and programmes from the 1960s onwards – is clearly copyrighted. Their notice claiming its public domain status due to "The Berne Act" is an utter lie and no more than an internet urban legend. They also do the old bootlegging trick of illustrating sale items with high quality publicity photos, to give the impression that's what their DVD-Rs look like. Totally false, of course: they're all just crappy VHS recordings of old TV broadcasts, downloaded from pirate sites or ripped from YouTube. Don't pay their extortionate prices (as of 2019, $17 + $5-9 postage per DVD-R); if you want to see something that badly, just get it for free from the same places they do. Added to the list.
  9. James A.
    February 01, 21:35 Reply
    Is trip3.142 Media/Tripdiscs (on eBay) legit? It seems like they're bootleggers.
    • Brent Reid
      February 01, 22:36 Reply
      Yup: bootleggers and pirates all the way. A cursory glance at their inventory throws up almost uniformly copyrighted product, much of it belonging to major studios. Despite their hollow claims, they haven't licensed a single thing. Of the tiny minority of works for sale that are genuinely public domain, such as their earliest silents, they've clearly been ripped-off from other, much better quality releases. Avoid.
  10. Tabd
    February 04, 18:01 Reply
    Is CG Home video/ entertainment really a bootleg label in Italia ? For exemple their Battle of Algiers Blu Ray release, is it legit ?
    • Brent Reid
      February 05, 10:51 Reply
      CG are a tricky one to categorise. As I've said, a few labels appear to issue both licensed and pirated product. Then others, like CG, seem to issue licensed material themselves, but also distribute unequivocal bootlegs. Either way, they're actively participating in the illicit trade and part of the problem. The Battle of Algiers BD and various DVDs from CG/Surf Film look kosher.
  11. Fred
    April 28, 20:39 Reply
    Was led to this very good string by a thread about the heroic work done by Pamula Pierce Barcelou to protect her family copyright on The Legend of Boggy Creek. Good work from you too going head to head with the ridiculous perpetrator of the takeover attempt from France some time ago. I will say, though, as a completist collector (one of the entitled few, I guess), if I cannot obtain an obscure old film with no chance of release, I’m going off-market. I see no comparison with someone stealing others‘ legit release masters to someone with the only source of an obscure Don Siegel or Richard Brooks film from the early 50s long forgotten by an ambivalent studio. A personal rule, however: if said film ever surfaces from the original source, I always buy.
    • Brent Reid
      May 01, 18:56 Reply
      Glad you like it, Fred. Individual collectors have been privately trading copies of rare films for years, but there's a big difference between that and mass-producing and selling copies – especially ones ripped from legit releases.
  12. Georg
    June 04, 22:33 Reply
    I'm a bit confused how Siren Visual got in this list. At least all DVDs I've seen from them (mostly anime) were legit and licensed. They also partnered with companies like Madman for streaming and cinema. However it seems, that the company is now out of business. An addition to the list: Germany: Manga Video / Manga Entertainment All current DVDs from them are bootlegs, using an abandonned brand established in the VHS era. However, the UK company of the same name is legit (currently owned by Sony).
    • Brent Reid
      June 05, 05:59 Reply
      Siren possibly fit into the same category as the many companies who had a mixture of pirated and licensed releases, at least in their early days, like Eureka Entertainment. For instance, Siren's 2005 Nosferatu DVD was pirated from Kino Lorber's restored DVD, as explained here: https://www.brentonfilm.com/articles/nosferatu-history-and-home-video-guide-part-8 I can't actually find any info on the German label you mention, as searches for their somewhat generic name(s) just bring up lots of unrelated results. If you can supply relevant links or the titles of some releases, I'll look into them.
  13. Gammelkasten
    June 15, 21:16 Reply
    You can also add to your Germany entry: - "MIG Filmgroup aka MIG Film GmbH". They release massive amounts of DVD Bootlegs under Sub-"Labels" like Endless Classics, MeToo-Trading, MT Films, Mr Banker Films, Maritim Pictures, etc. - Schröder Media, which often "cooperates" with MIG - Imperial Pictures, Supreme Films, RetroFilm (partially) - Eyecatcher Media Also, WME is one of the SubLabels from "Laser Paradise", another Bootleg Label in Germany.
    • Brent Reid
      June 15, 22:49 Reply
      Very helpful, thank you! I've known about Eyecatcher and Laser Paradise for years but somehow forgot to add them. It's very difficult keeping track... Have emailed you about the others.
  14. Gammelkasten
    June 21, 10:03 Reply
    I've wrote you an e-mail with further details about the Bootleg Labels in Germany from an other Mailaccount.
  15. LJ
    June 22, 03:22 Reply
    A new US bootlegger to look out for is Frolic Pictures and an old one is East West Entertainment that is long gone but it flooded the dollar DVD bins with tons of pirated films and cartoons.
  16. Rekked
    July 22, 23:49 Reply
    I wanted to buy this movie, since the Spanish one was a bootleg, but look at this website, it looks legit. https://eaglepictures.com/nuremberg.html But the strangest thing is, that this movie was never released elsewhere only in Spain and Italy, for me that makes it untrustworthy.
    • Brent Reid
      July 23, 14:11 Reply
      The Spanish releases are definitely bootlegs. I'm investigating the Italian BD and DVDs, and will report back when I find out more. In the meantime, Nuremberg (2000) has also been released on licensed anamorphic DVDs in the US (Turner, https://amzn.to/39kBbIg), Canada (Alliance Atlantis, https://amzn.to/32JaoEt), Germany (Capelight, https://amzn.to/3jAL0GI), France (TF1, https://amzn.to/2ZTDL4V), Holland (Bridge Pictures, https://amzn.to/2BnmAiM and https://amzn.to/2PE8NIa) and Australia (Magna Pacific).
  17. Rekked
    July 23, 19:41 Reply
    Hi Brent, I have the original Dutch DVD but I do not think this movie has been officially released on Bluray, just illegal copies.
    • Brent Reid
      August 11, 09:57 Reply
      Studiocanal have confirmed this title and others are indeed licensed to Eagle Pictures, so their BD/DVD set (https://amzn.to/3kzLZrq) and earlier DVD (https://amzn.to/3isTZZb) are kosher.
  18. Mr. Zoom
    August 05, 20:52 Reply
    I've been perusing your website and I thank you for the education on bootlegs. I have prided myself on building my DVD/Blu-ray collection with legitimate releases, but I now realize I've been fooled a couple of times. Armed with this new information, hopefully I won't get fooled again.
    • Brent Reid
      August 08, 08:41 Reply
      You're welcome, Ed. It's not easy: we've all been there and even I still get caught out once in a blue moon. But we can redress the imbalance a little by spreading the word!
  19. Ryan
    August 26, 04:31 Reply
    Good article. Also, it should be noted that Wham! USA is another offshoot of Jef Films. Thank you.
    • Brent Reid
      August 26, 06:00 Reply
      That checks out and is duly noted. Thanks, Ryan!
  20. Andrew Mark
    September 16, 07:12 Reply
    Movie Detective listed here is the same as The Film Detective which has the website https://www.thefilmdetective.com ?
    • Brent Reid
      September 16, 07:28 Reply
      No, it's a different, much smaller operation, although Film Detective (formerly Film Chest) also have a LOT of bootlegs on their books!
  21. Andrew Mark
    October 01, 16:30 Reply
    Wow, how I wish I had read this article years ago! My first disappointment with one of these distributors was with Classicline in Brazil, I bought the DVD Kismet by Marlene Dietrich and the quality is terrible, it looks like a VHS with SLP recording. Then, I took advantage of a promotion and bought more than 30 DVDs from a Brazilian distributor called "Colecione Clássicos: Obras Primas do Cinema" most of the DVDs are awful some of them has subtitles that are stuck in the films, others are films with the TCM logo appearing and so on. This is a very good article and thank you for all the explanation.
    • Brent Reid
      October 01, 20:16 Reply
      You're welcome, Andrew, and thanks for the tip! I checked out Obras-Primas do Cinema and it's patently obvious they're busy ripping off anything and everything they can get their filthy paws on. They're shifting serious units too. Mostly cheap-looking, derivative artwork, everything marked region "ALL" and nary a copyright notice in or logo in sight. Onto the list they go.
  22. Simon T
    October 05, 12:59 Reply
    Didn't Laser Paradise of Germany distribute titles from Red Edition, who were a VHS label (possibly Austrian)? Seem to recall both logos appearing on their DVD releases. Might even be the same company? Actually still have a couple of their DVDs in my collection, quality seemed OK. But was most likely transferred from a video master. Blackhorse Entertainment in the UK I believe were a bootleg label, as their uncut copy of The Burning appeared to be ported straight over from the US MGM release. They released a few other titles, but can't remember which off hand. Also the label Beyond Terror, a budget horror label, whose releases were simply repacks of old Vipco discs, many titles of which they no longer owned the rights to (and some of which Vipco didn't have the rights to in the first place, even though they're a legit label). I'm of the opinion that Blackhorse and Beyond Terror are one and the same and are/were a front for distributors S Gold and Sons, or at least closely connected to them. As they used to distribute Vipco's releases for them, and had an address at an industrial estate in Blackhorse Lane, London. Make of that what you will!
    • Brent Reid
      October 08, 04:28 Reply
      Hi Simon, Laser Paradise and Red Edition are almost certainly one and the same. More investigation needs to be done to see where EuroVideo, who are listed on most, if not all, of their releases, figure into things. For example, witness their confusing array of bootlegs for Peter Jackson's Braindead: https://ssl.ofdb.de/film/18,Braindead. Nowadays, EuroVideo are seemingly legit but do they have a double life or simply a very shady past, as per Eureka? I touch on Blackhorse in an upcoming article but when it comes to drawing links between them and many other fly-by-night labels, one quickly disappears down a rabbit hole. I get so many enquiries and fresh leads as a result of these articles, and wish I had the time to follow up on all of them. But I can't do it alone; my intention is to both raise awareness and spur others on to publishing their own findings, which I'll happily link to here. So how about it?!

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