Music Industry Tightens the Internet on Piracy

The Birmingham Post (England), August 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Music Industry Tightens the Internet on Piracy


Byline: By Steve Pain Technology editor

The music industry is stepping-up the fight against pre-release piracy on the internet - seizing record amounts of pirate discs and equipment and pointing to a list of top ten "priority countries" whose governments most need to act to combat digital and physical piracy

Despite the industry's efforts, music piracy remains an acute problem that harms the whole music community.

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers (IFPI) said: "This report outlines a list of top ten priority countries where actions - not lip-service - are most pressingly needed.

"Some of these governments have made progress in 2005. As this report outlines, much more is needed."

The report estimates the value of the global traffic of illegal CDs at pounds 2.45 billion.

An estimated total of 1.2 billion fake CDs were sold in 2005, meaning that more than one in three CDs sold worldwide was a pirate copy. An estimated 20 billion songs were illegally swapped or downloaded worldwide.

The industry says this shows a high rate of piracy on the internet - but it also illustrates the vast growth potential for the legitimate online music market.

There were record seizures of pirate discs and CD copying equipment in 2005, while enforcement successes in countries including Brazil, Mexico and Spain saw disc seizures double to 80 million in 2005, while 40,000 CD burners were netted, up 40 per cent on the previous year

IFPI named the ten priority countries where enforcement efforts by governments most need to be stepped up. They are:

Brazil. One billion tracks were downloaded or swapped illegally on the internet in Brazil last year, while the physical piracy rate was 40 percent.

The IFPI said it is hardly surprising against such a backdrop that the music industry has lost 60,000 jobs in the country since 1997, but there are signs that the newly-formed National Anti-Piracy Council is having an impact.

Canada. Outdated copyright laws have helped digital piracy flourish, with over one billion songs being downloaded illegally in 2005. According to the IFPI, the previous government failed to fulfil its longstanding pledge to ratify the 1996 WIPO Treaties. Annual retail sales of music fell by 42 per cent 1999-2005 and 20 per cent of music industry jobs have been lost. It is hoped the new government will take intellectual property more seriously.

China The largest producer of pirate discs in the world with a physical piracy rate of over 85 per cent. The country also has 64 million broadband lines which is facilitating a rapid growth in digital piracy in a culture where paying little or nothing for music is ingrained. The government has made positive noises about protecting intellectual property but according to the IFPI, they need to be translated into hard action.

Greece. With a physical piracy rate of 50 per cent and legal sales falling by a fifth in the past five years, Greece is a new priority country and one of three priority countries inside the EU. The IFPI, however, says the judicial system is weak and the Fiscal Police remain largely inactive in the fight against piracy.

Indonesia. A major source of imported pirate discs in Australia, Indonesia has failed to control its optical disc plants. There are more than 40 plants in the country and half of them are not even registered with the Ministry of Industry as required. An Intellectual Property Taskforce was established in March 2006 and it is hoped this may lead to a coordinated response to enforcement that has so far been lacking.

Italy. Italy is one of the biggest sources of piracy in western Europe. Organised crime networks are playing an ever-increasing role in the black market trade in music. The government's recent anti-piracy laws and increased police action may help, but the problem is so big it will need a concerted and continuing campaign to have any effect. …

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