Jail sentence and fine for operator of W. Europe's largest covert pirate CD plant
July 10, 2002
A German man has been sentenced to one year's imprisonment, suspended for a year, and fined 10,000 Euros for his part in operating the largest underground pirate CD plant discovered in Western Europe. He pleaded guilty to the charges.
IFPI, representing the international recording industry, faces a worldwide music piracy problem estimated as worth over US$4.3 billion annually.
The sentence stems from a raid in September last year on a plant in the Cologne/Bonn area of Germany. The raid uncovered CD manufacturing equipment with an estimated annual production capacity of more than one million illegal CDs, with an estimated sales value of over 15 million Euros.
The illegal plant, the first of its kind ever found in the country, was producing CDs by top international and German artists such as Madonna and Rammstein, and pirate compilation albums for the Dutch market. Discs found in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK were forensically matched to the plant, which had a key role in the international production and distribution of pirate music.
The raid was 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.
Iain Grant, IFPI head of enforcement says: "The case was a startling example of the cross-border nature of music piracy. More and more, enforcement authorities are having to work in cooperation with their counterparts in other countries to tackle the international operations of this criminal business."
Gerd Gebhardt, chairman of the German recording industry association says: "Music piracy is not a trivial offence. It will be tracked down, reported and punished."
For further information please contact: Fiona Harley, IFPI Communications, Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7900