Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Pirated CDs earned US$4.5bn in 2003

BLOOMBERG

Global sales of illegal copies of compact discs rose 4 percent to an estimated US$4.5 billion last year, an industry group said. That's more than one in every three CDs sold.

Sales of illegal discs were a record 1.1 billion units, or 35 percent of the total, the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said in a statement.

In its Commercial Piracy Report 2004, published yesterday, IFPI singles out 10 countries where piracy is the highest and whose governments have failed to combat it. Besides China, the largest market valued at more than US$600 million, and Russia, with US$330 million, those countries are: Tai-wan, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Spain, Thailand and Ukraine.

The world's biggest record companies, including Universal Music and EMI Group, have partly blamed illegal CDs and the unauthorized downloading of songs from the Internet for a four-year recession in the US$32 billion industry.

"This illegal trade is funding organized crime, fuelling widespread corruption and costs governments hundreds of millions of dollars in lost taxes," IFPI chairman Jay Berman said in the statement yesterday.

The proportion of fake CDs sold in the world is increasing, the IFPI said. In 2000, one in five CDs was a pirate copy.

The IFPI has been working with governments and national police to confiscate illegal copies and shut down plants.

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