A drive to stem increasing piracy of Japanese television drama is to be launched by Customs and the copyright owners. Delegates from four Japanese TV stations met Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau officials yesterday in an effort to combat the growing trend of pirating their popular series. Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Excise Vincent Poon Yeung-kwong said a series of operations would soon be launched after both sides had settled copyright details. Mr Poon said Japanese copyright laws were more complicated than those in Hong Kong. 'Prosecution requires primarily complaints by the copyright owner but very often one cannot represent other owners in Japan,' he said. Whether these situations could be applied in Hong Kong courts was another issue that had to be considered, he added. Officials have seized 30.5 million copies of suspected pirate discs worth $830 million and 53 production lines worth $370 million between January and July. But at the Legco trade and industry panel meeting, Cheung Man-kwong, of the Democratic Party, branded government efforts a 'joke', saying pirated VCD outlets were flourishing. Film distributor Ma Fung-kwok, an independent, claimed there was a huge problem with VCDs. 'I'm a full-time legislator because piracy is driving me out of work,' he said. The Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry, Cheung Siu-hing, said regulations, including confiscating criminal proceeds from piracy, imposing closure orders on premises involved and penalising buyers, were being studied.