Music industry welcomes raids on biggest piracy black spot in Europe
Rise of 'Piracy tourism' on Czech borders with Germany and Austria
Brussels/Prague, 6th December, 2006
The international recording industry today welcomed action by the Czech customs and police against Europe's biggest piracy black spot and called for a sustained crackdown to shut down and prosecute illegal operators on Czech borders with Germany and Austria. Together the 50 markets along the Czech border constitute the largest concentration of pirate trading in Europe.
Czech police and customs have carried out a series of weekend raids at separate locations in November and December, resulting in the seizure of hundreds of millions of Euros worth of pirate and counterfeit goods.
The "Dragon Market" in the Plzen area, which is the largest marketplace of Vietnamese traders in the region, was raided last Saturday. Enforcement authorities seized pirate CDs, counterfeit brand name clothing and accessories worth €3.5 million Euros. In action against another market in Cheb, West Bohemia, a total of 250 customs officers found pirate or counterfeit goods in almost all 130 stalls. In total, the weekend raids netted pirate and counterfeit items worth hundreds of thousands of Euros, including 54,000 illegal CDs.
IFPI Chairman & CEO, John Kennedy, said: "It is unacceptable that such an enormous hub of counterfeiting and pirate trading should be allowed to exist right in the heart of Europe. These raids are a good first step - we would now like to see the Czech authorities go much further. Pirate stalls need to be shut down indefinitely, stall owners should be prosecuted and the Czech authorities should make those who exploit these illegal markets liable for their actions."
The recording industry has long complained of massive intellectual and industrial property piracy in open air markets in the Czech Republic, along the 700 km border with Germany and Austria. The 50 markets are growing rapidly in size and sell a range of counterfeit goods, mainly imported from China. Thousands of German and Austrian shoppers are bussed in daily by travel agencies specialising in cross-border "piracy tourism".
The music industry commended the engagement in the issue by Ambassador Jan Kohout, the Czech Permanent Representative to the EU. The scale of the problem along the Czech border calls for the pro-active and comprehensive involvement of the Czech government and sustained pressure for change from the European Union.
Note to editors:
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1400 major and independent companies in more than 70 countries. It also has affiliated national groups in 48 countries.