International Record Industry Hails Major UK Crackdown on Russian Pirate CD Imports

IFPI Press Release, January 27, 2000

January 27, 2000

The international recording industry today hailed a major crackdown by UK police against an organized criminal ring importing pirate CDs from Russia. The operation, involving six arrests and seizures of thousands of CDs, false credit cards and counterfeiting equipment, emphatically confirms that international organized crime is behind the traffic of pirate CDs.

Six Russians were arrested following raids today at a number of addresses across London by the City of London Police Cheque & Credit Card Unit. IFPI, representing the international recording industry, had assisted in tracking the CD pirate trade routes between the UK and Russia.

CD piracy is a massive global problem for the international recording industry, and links are increasingly being uncovered between the pirate trade and sophisticated organized crime. The total global music pirate trade amounts to about US$4.5 billion worldwide, according to IFPI’s estimates.

Russia and Ukraine are among the biggest CD pirate-producing territories, exporting millions of illegal discs, carrying most of the top-selling international hits – around Europe.

IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said: “Today’s action is a great success against the pirates, for which we are extremely grateful to the City of London police. But it is also a very worrying development, because it shows that music piracy is not just robbing artists and musicians but it’s also helping to finance more serious forms of international organized crime.”

IFPI established a global anti-piracy structure in 1998, with offices around the world, as a response to the dramatic proliferation of the illegal CD trade. IFPI’s Head of Enforcement lain Grant said: “Today’s action shows the critical nature of the problem and the critical need for international cooperation among all the players who are trying to fight it.”

Dave Martin, Head of Anti-Piracy for the British Phonographic Industry, representing the UK record industry said: “We are dedicated to fight piracy to protect British music and British jobs. Piracy from eastern Europe and farther afield is directly threatening the health of one of Britain’s most successful industries.”

For further information contact:
Adrian Strain, Director of Communications, IFPI: 44 171 878 7939

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