Police in Germany find Europe's largest covert pirate music CD plant
London, September 19, 2001 - Police in Germany have seized the largest underground pirate CD plant to be found in Europe in an action welcomed by the international recording industry today.
Raids on the plant near Cologne last week (September 12) uncovered CD manufacturing equipment with an estimated production capacity of more than one million illegal CDs a year, with a sales value of over 15 million Euros.
The plant was producing CDs by top international artists, as well as German repertoire and pirate compilation albums for the Dutch market. Pirate bootleg copies of the recent Madonna 'Drowned World' tour were found at the site.
The plant, consisting of two CD manufacturing lines, was being covertly operated by a music company, details of which cannot presently be released. One man was arrested in Germany and two arrests were made in the Netherlands. Police are continuing their investigations.
The raids were the culmination of a joint anti-piracy operation involving the German police, IFPI and its affiliate national group in Germany and the Dutch criminal investigation department BumaStemra.
CD piracy is a growing problem for the music industry in Europe. Worldwide pirate sales are estimated at more than 600 million CDs annually, at a value of over US$4 billion dollars.
IFPI is the trade organisation of the international recording industry, representing more than 1400 record companies worldwide. IFPI coordinates the recording industry's fight against piracy, with a team of 50 investigators that works with enforcement agencies and governments across the world.
IFPI Head of Enforcement Iain Grant says: "We welcome this important action by German police. This operation illustrates the extent to which pirate manufacturers are prepared to go to hide their criminal activities. It also reflects the crucial importance of smooth cross-border cooperation between different enforcement agencies in Europe."
IFPI supports proposed new European Union legislation that will increase the cross-border coordination of enforcement agencies in the fight against piracy. The Enforcement Directive, due to be tabled in early 2002, is an important first step which will strengthen the most important civil enforcement tools in Europe.
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