Copycats costing millions

One in three CDs sold worldwide last year was fake, according to a report released today by the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).

The study Commercial Music Piracy 2003 states that global piracy rose by a whopping 14 percent last year, making the illegal piracy market of greater financial value than the legitimate one in every country except the USA and Japan.

The IFPI seized 50 million pirate CDs last year, a four-fold increase on 2001 which it says still only represents about one in 20 of all pirate discs sold worldwide.

For the first time, the IFPI has singled-out 10 priority countries where anti-piracy measures need to be stepped up. These are: Brazil, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and the Ukraine. The worst offender in that list is China where the piracy market, worth over $530m (£325m) a year, accounts for 90 percent of all recordings.

"This report should be a wakeup call to governments on the massive damage that music piracy is causing to their economies, their cultures and their international reputations. Some of the world's most exciting potential music markets are fighting for survival because of government inertia in response to rising levels of piracy," said Tim Bowen, chairman of music publisher BMG.

The IFPI has requested that governments adopt a three-pronged approach to piracy: better laws and enforcement rules to protect music; effective optical disc regulations to deal with the massive over-production of CDs; and penalties and criminal prosecutions to deter commercial pirates.

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Wendy Brewer

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