European Commission Shows 349% Rise in Pirate Disc Seizures: Links with Serious Crime and Terrorism

London, England – July 26, 2002

The international recording industry today raised the alarm at new European Commission figures showing seizures of pirate discs at the EU’s external borders soared by 349% to more than 40 million items in 2001. Pirate CDs, a huge illegal business linked with serious international organised crime, account for nearly half the EU’s estimated 2 billion Euro pirate and counterfeiting business.

IFPI, the organisation representing the international recording industry, applauded Europe’s customs officers for their success in helping to combat the sharp increase in the pirate trade. IFPI praised a European Commission proposal that will encourage cooperation between industry and customs authorities in the fight against pirate imports into the EU. And it called for progress to be stepped up on the proposed Enforcement Directive that would provide tougher EU-wide penalties against rampant piracy within the EU’s own borders.

The report on counterfeiting and piracy issued by the European Commission today includes the following:

  • CDs (audio, games, software), DVDs and cassettes are the fastest-growing category of pirate goods, accounting for 42% of the total seized for 2001.
  • A number of customs investigations show links between piracy and certain terrorist networks.
  • The Commission and EU Member States are considering legislative amendments to combat the trade in pirate goods more effectively by encouraging greater cooperation between industry and customs authorities.
  • The Commission will be proposing a Directive this year to harmonise Member State legislation on enforcement of intellectual property rights (the Enforcement Directive).

IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said: “These figures are profoundly worrying because they confirm that counterfeiting and piracy in Europe is far worse today than it has ever been. At the same time we welcome the efforts of the Commission to improve its customs laws, and we are extremely appreciative of the professionalism of customs officers on the ground.

“Seizing pirate goods at the borders, however, is just one part of the fight against piracy. It is crucial also to strengthen anti-piracy enforcement across Europe, through adequate civil and criminal penalties across the continent. This is what we hope the Commission will achieve via its proposed Enforcement Directive.”

IFPI coordinates the global fight against piracy on behalf of a membership of more than 1500 record companies worldwide. It has a 50-strong global anti-piracy team, which works in close cooperation with government enforcement authorities and customs across the world.

For further information contact:
Adrian Strain or Fiona Harley at IFPI Secretariat, tel: +44 20 7878 7900 or
Francine Cunningham, IFPI European Regional Office, tel: +32 2 511 9208

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