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Real IRA gets into computer piracy

The Armalite and the PlayStation

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The Real IRA, the dissident Republican outfit behind the Omagh bomb that killed 29 people two years ago, is using computer piracy to raise funds, The Sunday Times claims.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the industry controlled anti-piracy body, can breathe a sigh of relief (for the time being) - the Real IRA is counterfeiting Sony PlayStation 2 games only in its "secret factory in south Armagh".

This makes sound commercial sense in the run-up to Christmas - with PS2 bootleg games retailing on market stalls at £30 a pop, compared with £45 in the shops, the Real IRA is expected to profit to the tune of £20,000 a week from its piracy.

The computer games industry has its own anti-piracy body, called ELSPA, which, with the police, conducts raids on heaps of semi-organised and violent criminals. But the Real IRA is a different order of beast - more people, more organised, more guns, and more Semtex.

Can't imagine the anti-piracy enforcers will be in too much of a hurry to close down the Real IRA's counterfeiting operations. Can you? ®

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