How to Spot Fake Bodybuilding DVDs

By Les Willis aka MuscleTalk Moderator 'Big Les'

Bodybuilding is a small sport, and although you may think bodybuilding DVDs are expensive and want to save a few pounds, when you buy a fake you damage the sport and you really do jeopardise future production. Making DVDs costs money that has to be made back as well as a profit made, unlike a Hollywood film the potential market is very small.

DVDs are also how bodybuilders give back to the sport and their fans, DVD sales never made a bodybuilder rich on their own. So when you buy the genuine article you are supporting bodybuilding, not ripping it off like a scumbag.

Every brand new DVD I have bought has come shrink wrapped; not one came in a bag, and not one of the production companies I contacted said they ship a brand new DVD in anything but shrink wrapping.

The only time a brand new DVD should come without a shrink wrap is when it has been signed; and my advice is only ever buy a signed DVD from the athletes themselves either in person or from their own store. You may have to wait but it will be genuine and you get to support the athlete directly.

The Sleeve
The sleeve should be printed with high quality ink, no blurring and no running. The text should be clear and easy to read. In fact, it should look exactly like a Hollywood blockbuster DVD sleeve: perfect in every way. Similarly the paper should be thin; many fakes are on photo paper which is much thicker. Bodybuilding DVDs are printed professionally using professional grade glossy paper. This means that, not only is the print crisp and clean, the ink is not sticky and the paper is not tacky.

I really cannot stress how important these two things are in spotting a fake DVD. Bodybuilding is a small sport, with some DVDs having very small productions runs. However, every company contacted said their brand new DVDs come wrapped and professionally printed. IFBB show DVDs come packaged this way too; only smaller shows, where the production number is a hundred or less may not be like this. Do not be fobbed off, when you are buying professional products they come presented professionally.

Genuine MOC Jay Cutler on the left; fake on the right. The lower standard of print on the fake is clearly visible. Also notice the colour of the MOC logo: a common faker mistake.

The Case
Look at the brand of the case; if it says Maray just below the disc holder I would immediately contact the manufacturer to check. I checked 34 of my own DVDs, not one was marked in the same way as the fake DVDs. Also, DVDs such as Ultimate Beef and the latest Mr Olympia DVDs do not come in standard thickness cases. If in doubt, check.

The DVD Disc
Just like the sleeve, printing should be clean and crisp, not blurry or muted, and again professionally printed DVDs are never tacky to the touch. Your finger should slide easily across the printed side; if it doesn't then it's not legit.

The difference between the fake disc on the left and the real on the right is even more apparent, with the blurred poor quality print clearly visible: remember the print on the fake is also slightly tacky.

Next, turn the disc over, if the disk surface is silver then the disc was pressed; if it is blue or another colour then it has been burned. In my collection, burned discs are smaller names in the industry produced by smaller companies. MOC video: every one i have is pressed, GMV: all pressed. Smaller runs from small companies may have been burned. In my experience fake DVDs do not come in professional cases with professionally printed sleeves and discs, spotting that your blurry, home market cased, slightly tacky disc printing DVD is also burned is more of a nail in the coffin than a deciding factor. As with any suspicions, contact the manufacturer or the producer directly, they are all very helpful.

When you look at the disc, look at the middle for maker identification, some fakers are still dumb enough to use ones with CD-R or such like printed there but this is increasingly rare. Finally, if you put the disc in a computer it will tell you the name; one clue: no company names their disc Untitled or New.

The real pressed disc is on the left, while the burned one is on the right with a clearly discernible blue colour. A Jay Cutler DVD is always pressed.

Picture Quality
If you watch your DVD on a computer this may never be apparent, but on a bigger screen you will see pixelating that is not there on a genuine production. When switching to older footage you will see the difference in quality or graininess, but again not pixilation. Some DVDs have a copy fault, the From Jay to the Z one used for illustration can crash or heavily pixelate during the cribs segment. Genuine DVDs do not come with copy faults, and if there are production problems they are usually noted – such as poor sound quality due to fans or loud music (several Ronnie Coleman DVDs note this!).

If you have any suspicions contact the manufacturer direct.

Buying on eBay
Personally I would ask for a photograph of the actual product, inside and out by email not just a stock photo. If the seller is listing used, and has sold multiple copies of the same DVD, walk away.

Check the DVD against the shops; if the DVD is out of stock everywhere, how come this seller has it? If they have said its 'overstock' they are a liar. Similarly, if the DVD is being stocked on eBay but not one shop even lists, such as Kai Greene DVDs (at the time this article was written) be very suspicious. (At the time of writing Kai Greene Vol 2 was available via the producer and his sponsor only, for example)

To be honest, I have given up almost entirely on eBay DVDs unless the seller is a store I know about. Massive Direct is Weider UK, and the prices reflect that. Other retailers use eBay to supplement their business. A quick 5 mins with Google Maps can verify addresses this way, and even a quick phone call is worth it to avoid a fake. It saddens me, but the only fakes I have bought have come from eBay and all of them from sellers with perfect feedback on their DVDs – clearly people do not know a fake when they see one. Hopefully with this guide and the pictures, you will be able flag the faker straight away.

Dispute it. I have always got my money back without returning the DVD to be sold again. By going to a dispute with a solid list of the differences between the real deal and the fake you will win. If you are sold a fake, I also urge you to report it to FACT. Bodybuilding is a small sport, and if you do not support it then you will not see events and productions in the future.

I hope this guide is useful, and I hope it persuades the fakers to go leech off some other sport or maybe even stop being scumbags completely. Piracy is a crime, and they are ripping off small companies and the bodybuilders themselves not multi-million dollar corporations here. I would like to especially thank Wayne Gallasch at GMV for his huge amount of help in preparing this, as well as MOC and Mike Pulcinella for their input.

Here is a comparison of the Fake From Jay to the Z Sleeve. With other genuine Jay Cutler DVDs, look especially at the colour saturation and the poor print on the 'From Jay to the Z' text 'The beginning and the end' which is very blurry: you can see the yellow is not MOC yellow too.