A new campaign promises to make London "fake free" by 2012. They're not talking about shutting down Harley Street's plastic surgery parlours, nor rounding up the mannequins and frogmarching them out of Madam Tussauds while a crowd jeers. No, the campaign aims to smite that scourge of modern al fresco dining society - the dodgy fella with his swag bag of hooky DVDs.
The Metropolitan Police, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the UK Film Council, are all behind the initiative which aims to rid once and for all the plague of pushers trying to flog copies of the latest Hollywood finery. They want London to be a "fake free zone", and in the first fortnight over 90,000 discs have been seized, with 39 arrests made.
In the past, counterfeit films have been linked to terrorism, although one can't help but detect the lingering echo of a boy crying wolf here. After all, the film industry, mugged by the Internet which pinched its long-cherished monopoly over distribution channels, has tried everything to stop people downloading their stuff, while refusing to admit that, just maybe, the decision to excrete the same tired old fillums had a nugget of responsibility for their drop in profit.
This time round authorities are citing the "impact on creative talent" that piracy causes. In other words, the ubiquity of untreated bilge like High School Musical hogging the movie charts is a direct consequence of you buying that dubbed version of Shanghai Surprise off a fellow in Seven Sisters the other month. Sounds like a convenient excuse - pump out the same pusillanimous product, and when the audience complains, blame the pirates.