International recording industry applauds action against Russian website offering pirate discs for sale
Brussels, June 23, 2004
The owner of a Russia-based website, www.russian-cds.com faces criminal proceedings against him for offering allegedly pirate music discs for sale.
The international recording industry has welcomed the action by the Russian authorities, which takes place against the backdrop of the country's huge piracy problem.
Jay Berman, Chairman of IFPI said: "This action against one of the many Russian websites offering allegedly infringing product for sale is encouraging and to be applauded. We urge the authorities to maintain the pressure on those who seek to profit from the creativity of international stars as well as holding back the development of Russia's own domestic music talent."
The case against www.russian-cds.com came as a result of initial investigations by online piracy investigators from IFPI. They discovered the site, containing a catalogue of allegedly pirate music discs being offered for sale, in October 2003. It was established the site was being operated from a city in a remote part of Eastern Russia.
Following an initial test purchase, a further purchase of 176 discs was made in March 2004 monitored by IFPI's Regional Office in Moscow together with officers from the Russian Federation's Ministry of Interior. All the discs examined appeared to be counterfeit.
The discs featured international artists such as Britney Spears, Robbie Williams, Sting, Texas and Yanni, signed to labels including EMI, BMG, Universal, Sony and SPV.
The site is believed to have been distributing the discs in countries including the UK, Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, USA, Korea and Canada.
In early June, an officer from Russia's Ministry of Interior High-Tech Crime Department, together with IFPI personnel, traveled to the city where the site was based and presented documentary evidence to the local Prosecutor's office. As a result, a criminal case for contravention of Section 2 of Article 146 of the RF Penal Code was initiated on June 4.
On that same day, searches at two addresses turned up over 3,000 optical discs, a significant amount of CD inlays, two computers belonging to a charged individual and around 300 money order receipts.
Additional searches turned up another 14,000 pirate discs and DVDs with music and computer games in two warehouses in Izhevsk, where the charged individual had purchased pirate products. Further investigations are continuing.
Note to editors:
Russia is Europe's biggest pirate market, with a piracy level of 66%. IFPI's forensic experts have helped trace exports of Russian pirate CDs to at least 26 countries, making Russia one of the key exporters of mass produced pirate product. The situation in Russia is exacerbated by outdated copyright laws, and a lethargic response from Russian authorities to the problem.
For further information: please contact IFPI Communications on tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7900