WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Buying or selling illegal copies of movies and TV shows is against the law, but that isn't stopping several convenience stores in Wilmington from stocking their shelves with bootleg DVDs.
The movies are available weeks, or even months, before studios want you to see the picture at home, but more than one store is selling those illegal copies for only $5.
The practice is simple and surprisingly out in the open. Stores are teaming up with someone who is making and copying possibly hundreds of DVDs then putting them on store counters for people to buy.
The store clerk at M&M Food Market at 7th and Ann Streets said he knew the movies he was selling are still in theaters, but when asked if he knew that it was against the law he responded saying, "well the guy who sold it to me said it was legal."
The setup at the Safeway on Wilshire Boulevard is almost identical to the M&M Food Market - a box of bootleg DVDs sits next to the register, out in the open.
When asked about the movies for sale, the clerk was friendly and helpful, assuring it was a "clear copy." But when questioned about selling illegal movies, the clerk was not accommodating and said to leave the store.
Johnny Griffin with the Wilmington Regional Film Commission says blatant piracy in Wilmington isn't new and isn't fair to film industry workers.
"The same people who are coming to Wilmington to be a part of the film industry are having their films sold illegally in Wilmington," said Griffin.
Griffin hopes enforcement will toughen up on movie pirates. According to the District Attorney's Office fines can range from $2,500 to $150,000.
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