Baltic CD plant in record piracy payout
London, 23rd August 2007
Baltic Optical Disc, the largest CD replicating plant in the Baltic States, has been ordered to pay a coalition of record companies a €500,000 payout after a Lithuanian court ruled it was guilty of music piracy.
The civil action, brought jointly by the public prosecutor and 13 IFPI member companies, related to large scale pirate CD manufacture in 2001. The claim stemmed from police and customs’ seizures of more than 210,000 pirate CDs containing a mix of predominantly international and Polish repertoire.
Forensic experts at IFPI traced the origin of the illegal discs, found in Vilnius and on the Czech/Polish border, back to the Baltic Optical Disc factory. This conclusion was confirmed by investigators at the Lithuanian government’s forensic laboratories.
The judge ruled that Baltic Optical Disc should pay €494,000 in compensation to the record companies whose repertoire was pirated, as well as more than €5,000 in costs. Reflecting the flagrancy of the infringements, the court imposed the maximum compensation award it could, given the numbers of discs manufactured.
Jo Oliver, Vice President, Litigation and Regulatory Affairs at IFPI, says: “This is a landmark victory that sets a precedent which should be a warning to the operators of replicating plants everywhere who produce copyright CDs without authorisation from the rightsowners.
“The judgment sends a strong message across the region that copyright law will be enforced wherever it is abused. At a time when nearly one in three CDs sold worldwide is a fake, the industry welcomes the damages awarded by the court. It has never been more important to crack down on these activities that hurt all those who invest in the creative process.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The companies involved in the action were: La Face Records LLC, Virgin Records America Inc, UMG Recordings Inc, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd, WEA International Inc, EMI Records Limited, Polydor Limited, Mute Records Limited, Universal International Music B.V, EMI Music Germany GmbH & Co. KG, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Poland) Sp.z.o.o, EMI Music Poland Sp.z.o.o. and Universal Music Polska Sp.z.o.o.
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,400 major and independent companies in more than 75 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 49 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.For further information contact:
Alex Jacob, IFPI London