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IFPI Press Release, December 21, 2000


Eastern Europe Brings Pirate CDs for Christmas


London - December 21, 2000

Police have seized 10,000 East European-made counterfeit CDs - carrying top best-sellers like the Beatles "1" - and heading for customers in Britain's pre-Christmas spending spree.

The CDs were found in a raid by Metropolitan Police at a number of private addresses in East London and are believed to have originated in Ukraine. Latest releases pirated include The Spice Girls "Forever", The Beatles "1" album, and material by Eminem, Craig David, Artful Dodger, David Gray, Jill Scott and Westlife. The CDs were high-quality counterfeits with a market value of over £100,000.

Piracy cost the global recording industry an estimated US$4.5 billion in 1999. Far from being a 'victimless' crime, CD piracy has been shown to fuel organised criminal gangs whose activities also include drug and gun running, smuggling of illegal immigrants and credit card fraud.

This seizure, in which IFPI assisted, is the latest in a number of cases that have shown the movement of CDs from Eastern Europe into the West. IFPI has recently opened a regional office for Eastern Europe, based in Brussels, to step up its anti-piracy and market development activities in the region.

The police and IFPI were called in after Customs at Heathrow intercepted a shipment of good quality CD inlays entering the country from Lithuania.

Metropolitan police and IFPI searched a number of premises and three men, all understood to be Lithuanian nationals, have been held for questioning. The BPI, the UK recording industry body is assisting with statements that confirm that the CDs are counterfeit.

Iain Grant IFPI Head of Enforcement said: "this is just the latest evidence of the escalation of organised traffic of pirate CDs, much of it coming from Eastern Europe. Music piracy is big business and increasingly we see it being linked to organised crime."

David Martin, director of Operations BPI: "Britain has a thriving music industry employing tens of thousands of people and giving UK music a tremendous international reputation. That success story can only be jeopardised by these shipments of pirate CDs."

IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide with over 1,400 record producer and distributor members in 76 countries around the world. It also has national groups in 46 countries. IFPI Secretariat is based in London and linked to regional offices in Brussels, Hong Kong, Miami and Moscow.

For further information contact:
Fiona Harley, IFPI Communications Department, Tel. 020 7878 7900

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