Artists and music industry leaders urge action to tackle fastest-growing piracy problem in Europe
Madrid, 24 April, 2002 - Artists and music industry leaders came together today to call for urgent action against an explosion in music piracy in Spain. On the occasion of a visit by the Heads of European recording companies to Madrid, they urged better enforcement and improved laws to help combat piracy rates which now account for almost a third of the Spanish music market.
Popular artists Hevia, Pastora Soler, David Civera and Carlos Jean expressed concern about the future of Spanish music, if piracy continues to spiral out of control. Commenting on the issue, the Platinum award-winning musician, Hevia, said: "Piracy is not just affecting international artists. It is having a serious impact on Spanish artists and the amount of money there is available to re-invest in discovering and developing new talent."
Piracy rates in Spain have risen dramatically from around 5 per cent in 1998 to 30 per cent today, according to the latest figures from IFPI, the organisation representing the music industry worldwide. Many of the pirate products are on the CD Recordable (CD-R) format and consists of the top Spanish and international repertoire.
These pirates CDs sold by the so-called "Manteros" (blanket men) are seen everywhere in the streets of Madrid. While the capital city is a focus of pirate activity, many other Spanish cities are also affected.
Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI, said: "Spain is known for its rich and dynamic musical culture, but the value of this music is being undermined by piracy on a massive scale. Pirates don't reward anyone for the time and effort they put into creating, producing and promoting music. Pirates don't invest in nurturing new artists or take any risks, they just rip off other people's music when it has proved to be a hit."
There is evidence that large organised crime networks are involved in the copying and distribution of counterfeit CDs. In some cases organised crime groups rent apartments where their workers churn out pirate discs on CD-R towers.
In Spain, around 200 enforcement actions are conducted against pirates each month. The number of pirate discs confiscated by police and customs has risen from more than 300,000 CD-Rs in 2000, to around 700,000 CD-Rs in 2002. From January to March 2002 over 200,000 counterfeit CD-Rs were seized.
Guardia Civil yesterday released details of an investigation into a CD plant in northern Spain that lead to the most significant plant seizure in the European Union this year. This cross border investigation began 18 months ago when Dutch police in the Netherlands seized around 5,000 pirated compilation discs that originated from the plant. Guardia Civil officers then visited the Spanish plant and discovered 240,000 pirate compilation discs entitled "This is Reggae" destined for distribution across Europe. IFPI coordinated the investigations between Spain and the Netherlands.
The Spanish Ministry of Justice is currently considering the adoption of a series of legal measures to strengthen the fight against piracy.
Commenting on the issue, Paul Burger, President, Sony Entertainment Europe, said: "The music industry appreciates that the Spanish government is taking this problem seriously, but the fact remains that pirate CDs are still for sale on every street corner. We urge the Government to continue to work closely with the industry and to implement stronger, more effective legislation to deter and punish these pirates whose criminal activities are having a damaging effect on the entire music business."
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