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About 4 years ago from Squid's Twitter via Twitter Web Client

My new Star Trek Voyager S1-7 DVD set is a Faaake!

I bought a Star Trek Voyager Season1-7 set off Amazon a few weeks back after wrapping up all my episodes of Enterprise.  I’ve been chomping at the bit for some sci-fi and it took me awhile to decide whether I was going to take the plunge on Voyager or go for Babylon5 instead.  

I thought I’d save some money off the exhorbantly priced DVD set by ordering one of the less expensive copies from an Amazon Marketplace seller.  It was $80 cheaper than the ‘full price’ set, so it was a good deal.  But not ‘too good’ of a deal that I had to worry about it.  Guess I was wrong.

So here are some pictures of what showed up.  There are 6 more sets pretty much exactly like this, shrink wrapped and packed loose into a shipping box.  The packaging is fairly convincing, until you start looking closely.
itsafake-008itsafake-012itsafake-009itsafake-011itsafake-010itsafake-014itsafake-013

 

The other two DVD sets that I had purchased through Amazon (DS9 and Enterprise) both came with the season boxes wrapped together, with a cardboard base.  The fact that the individual seasons were physically seperated was a surprise.  The boxes looked pretty legitimate, but when I opened the first season at work, what I found was a dvd set that was packaged like a piece of $20 software.  I know Paramount hasn’t won any fans with their packaging, but this was good step down from what I was used to so far.  Inside the brown cardboard was a plastic cd ‘folio’ like what MSDN disks used to come in.  Inside that were the disks, and they were out of order.  The left side of the thin plastic ‘disc book’ was all crumpled up from being held in a space where it couldn’t lie flat.  The inset inside the cardboard holder was only wide enough for the disks.

There was no booklet or episode list, which was what really got my suspicion going.

After installing some video codecs and media player classic on my work computer, I loaded up the first disc and the intro screen looked correct compared to stills of voyager.  Disc 5 seemed to have special features on it, so that all checked out.  I mentioned my suspicion to my coworker Armrha, and he noticed that the interior ring of the DVDs indicated that they were pressed just for Star Trek Voyager and were not just burned by a computer.

So then I started checking the ISBN number on the back, and doing some reading.

Here’s what the DVD packaging looks like on Memory Alpha: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/VOY_Season_1_DVD

Region 1 is ‘US’, Region 2 is Europe, UK and the Middle East.  You’ll notice the texture on the case is all wrong, and the front is missing those weird circle things that look like reflective plastic.  That’s because the Voyager DVD Season1 case is supposted to be a plastic slip cover with a orange jewel case inside it, not a glossy paper box.

Here’s a bunch of pictures what it’s supposted to look like: http://voy.trekcore.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=239

If your voyager DVDs don’t look like this, you are either a european, or they’re a bootleg.

voys1_contents

Really guys, is it that hard?

Why does my disk 5 say ‘A-0026’ on the bottom?   It’s also missing the episode listing on each disk in a horrible swirling pattern that is completely unreadable.

Here’s what else I’ve learned.  There are no Paramount licensed “import editions” of Star Trek Voyager.  DVDs are supposedly not issued ISBN numbers if they are an entertainment product, however the DVD card for the trekcore gallery above shows some for each season.

The back of the season1 package I recieved says ISBN 0-1832-1623-1   The sham season2 is labelled 0-1832-1623-2, and so on, with the number incrementing by one with each season.  You’ll notice in the pictures above the second number in a 12 digit UPC code format.  It’s almost the same as the ISBN, but they added an extra 1 in the middle: 0-18321-16231-4

The proper version of Star Trek Voyager, Season1 is ISBN 0-7921-7747-9, UPC (actually it’s a UCC-12) 0-9736-15683-48.  If you do some UPC code searching you’ll notice that the first set of UPC numbers on a lot of Paramount products start with 0-973.  This is because they are typically issued in blocks to a publisher.  Compare the search results for the valid product code with the fake upc code.  You’ll notice that the real code comes up in a lot of product results and the fake one comes up only on a few reskins of a single  ‘barcodepedia’ website.

In summary, it really looks like bootlegging is pretty rampant out there if you just scratch the surface.  All of the customer upload pictures in the Amazon.com gallery for the complete seasons 1-7 voyager are bootlegs.  Anything from the chosen collection are also blatent bootlegs.    Apparently Amazon also allows Amazon Marketplace sellers to create their own product pages for new products, and these are supposedly rife with bootlegs.  I notice my seller is now selling a handful of used books and a ‘used’ copy of the ‘import’ version of Star Trek Voyager, which of course, has a bunch of pictures of bootleg editions.   I wonder if this is a willfull fraud that has been perpetrated or if it’s someone who purchased a product from an untrustworthy distributor, not knowing that they are selling bootlegs.   According to Amazon policy, I need to give them 3 days to respond to my return request before I get Amazon involved.  From what I read, they will not be kind to the seller when that happens.

 

SHAMEFULL BOOTLEGS OF SHAME

Looks pretty legit packaging right?  Here’s what one person had to say about it in the amazon forum linked above.

wrong1

"The Chosen Collection"

There is no such thing as AUTHORIZED import. All BS crap spewed by the sellers. Paramount has NEVER granted anybody rights in China, Taiwan, HK or ANY countries outside North America to re-produce StarTrek series in different regions, let alone Region 0. All StarTrek imports are NOT the official packaging considered to be BOOTLEGs at this time. All ‘The Chosen Collection 1,2,3,4,5’ are all confirmed BOOTLEGS – in low quality DVD5 (4.3) GB only with bad subtitles, no commentary, no extras. Some has blur video, and skips! Buyers beware.

 

Unlicensed “import”

wrong2

Why is there chinese writing on these DVD cases?

 

Good thing they added those glossy stickers to the covers below, it really adds a sense of legitimacy.  Except, for the box not being made out of glossy plastic and everything..

wrong3

From a dropshipping wholesalers website...

YOU CAN’T FOOL SENATOR VREENAK!

The sad thing is, I don’t really remember this show being all that great, but I really need a star trek fix right now.  But damn if I’m going to pay money for a pirated copy.  No hollywood studio making the money, no interest in science fiction, no new sci-fi being made.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • elmuzzerino July 7, 2009, 8:35 pm

    I hear you bro, this happened to me when I ordered a ‘legit’ copy of Deep Space Nine a few years ago from an online shop claiming that they were ‘original’ ‘licenced’ copies from Paramount in the Chinese market.

    I got the discs and although they played ok and the packaging was quite good, you could tell they were bootlegs. Every single time a visual effect appeared of a ship or the space station the image ‘jittered’ like crazy and it really, really pissed me off since I am a huge Star Trek fan and I LOVE my Sci Fi Eye Candy.

    Needless to say, from now on I will be very careful to buy only from a trusted retailer ( although I would have thought that Amazon was )

    Well done on getting the word out on this, I am going to post my similar experience on my own blog and maybe help people from being caught out by those gorram bootleggers.

    Cheers

    Muzz

    http://www.sciencefictionstuff.com

  • tcx July 8, 2009, 10:42 am

    I really appreciated this write up. I almost bought a voyager complete set on Ebay that looked legit but the price seemed to good to be true. I decided to do a little investigation, and with the help of Google, found this article. I then discovered that most of the voyager sets being sold on Ebay are fakes.

    The Voyager set seems to be a popular bootleg item. I can tell a lot of effort went into this article and it’s much appreciated. It pretty much tells you everything you need to know to avoid fakes. I never realized just how rampant the bootleg dvd market is.

    Hats off to the writer. Nice job!

  • datalore July 21, 2009, 9:46 pm

    Obviously the reason why these overseas Star Trek collections are so popular is because Paramount is too greedy and the prices in North America are too high. Who cares if the package you get is a bit different or not as glossy as the Paramount version? Personally, I’m only interested in watching the episodes and I have never had any problems with any overseas versions. I would recommend them to all, only then can Paramount learn that they should not exploit the fans by charging their ridiculous prices.

  • Squid July 22, 2009, 9:53 am

    ‘Star Trek’ is a business. Episodes don’t just spontaniously happen by themselves. Per http://www.fastcopyinc.com/orionpress/articles/startrekmyths2.htm, it cost 4 million dollars to make an average episode of Enterprise.
    It costs about 30cents (retail) for a blank DVD. Obviously copying someones work and reselling it is unbeatably cheaper than making an original work.

    The bootleg set I received was only $80 cheaper than an authentic set. The physical fabrication costs of the boxed set is lower than the legitimate copy. There are also no actors to pay, no set construction to finance, no grips, no editors, no directors, no writers, no artists. So why would I feel happy about spending $252 to line the pockets of a pirate when I could just steal it myself off the internet? ‘Overseas version’ producers aren’t selling fake DVDs so they can stick it to Paramount for some sort of pricing-justice, they are doing it because they see an opportunity to profit off of people who don’t realize the full cost of producing a quality television show for a niche-audience.

    If you don’t think you’re getting good value for your money that is your call. I am not going out on a limb when I say that the first couple seasons of Voyager have not been Star Trek’s finest. 😉 But there are affordable legitimate options: Netflix accounts are around $20/mo, which is fairly cheap. If that is still too rich for your blood there is the local library. There are 3 copies of the DVD set on the Portland area library system. I could reserve whatever disk I want, and have it shipped to a library of my choice for pickup. Cost out of my pocket: $0.

  • rvdebbie October 6, 2009, 3:29 pm

    Thanks so much for this warning! I was shopping for the complete Voyager DVD set used, but now I think I’ll hold out for pricey one from Paramount because I would hate to get a bootleg, like I did with the Columbo series from Planet DVD–it’s real bad for $80. Yeah, I’m using my local library for viewing but I’ll check out Netflix. I liked your site, Squid. You did a nice job informing us of fakery. I wouldn’t like it if someone made money off me without my copyright permission. Karma is everywhere. Shame on Amazon. Thanks Art Dude.

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