ad info

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




Watch the full report:

Windows Media: 28k or 56k
Real: 28k or 56k

World music industry cracking down on pirates

Web posted on: Monday, July 27, 1998 4:48:04 PM

From World Beat Correspondent
Tim Lister

NEW YORK (CNN) -- If it's not one thing, it's another. That's how the record industry must feel these days as it cracks down on piracy of its product. The industry, represented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the Recording Industry Association of America, is fighting the battle on two fronts now -- CDs and cyberland.

The IFPI estimates the pirate compact disc trade costs the industry $5.1 billion every year. Right now there are an estimated 1.5 billion pirated cassettes and 350 million pirated CDs in existence around the world.

Music from any major artist from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley, the Spice Girls to The Verve is pirated, making big money for the pirates, but devaluing the artists' creative talents, and undermining the investment of the record companies.

In a show of intolerance, the IFPI staged a pirated CD-smashing

'It's basically theft'

"It is basically theft," says Sharon Corr of The Corrs. "You spend your life recording albums and you take a year to record an album and write all your songs and when it comes down to it, people are selling it for nothing close to the value of it."

"I know that especially in China and Russia it's a big problem," says Soren Rasted of the band Aqua. "They can manufacture these CDs really cheap, and of course they don't have permission to do it. It destroys your effort in promotion in these countries. You might only have sold 200 million albums there, but everyone in Russia has your album."

The IFPI says it is making headway, but more needs to be done.

"In a recent Hong Kong bust, we recovered $100 million in equipment and 22 million CDs," says Ian Grant of IFPI. "These peple are not small fry."

The IFPI are lobbying the European Union and governments around the world to adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to CD piracy, after a series of raids. A dozen illegal plants have already been seized in Macau, Hong Kong and China.

Illegal MPEG-3 Internet sites distribute CD-quality digital audio playable on your home computer

The pirate's playground

Meanwhile, there's a new frontier for pirates to roam -- the Internet.

Ninety-one million computers are hooked up to the 'Net worldwide. Online access promises musicians a great medium for promoting their work. But the Internet also makes it easy for people to buy and sell pirated copies of music.

Some Web sites specialize in illegal offerings of some of the hottest CDs on the market, including Smashing Pumpkin's "Adore," the top-selling record in the world for the past six weeks.

"The ability to do damage to the people you worship -- meaning these artists -- is extrapolated on the Internet," says Frank Creighton of the Record Industry Association. "People need to understand that the Internet is not free, that there are rights that are involved in these sound recordings and those rights should be respected.

"It's no different than going into Tower Records, putting a CD in your pocket and walking out."

Armed guards stand watch outside a bootleg CD factory

Coalition needed?

The RIAA has sued several Web site operators, and won hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. But keeping up with the pirates is expensive. The latest trick is an automated Web crawler to track offenders.

To end cyber-piracy completely, Creighton believes it will take a coalition of hardware and software companies, content holders, chip manufacturers and Internet service providers to make it happen.

For now, most music pirates are sailing profitable waters.

More Music News

Related site:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not
endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Enter keyword(s)   go    help


Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.