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 News Music Industry 19/11/2009

Pirate Disc Factory Raided By Italian Police

LONDON, UK (Top40 Charts/ IFPI) - Italian police have announced they raided a factory that manufactured counterfeit optical discs intended for export around Europe.
The Bologna-based plant raided by the Italian Fiscal Police (GdF) produced unlicensed box sets that contained music, film and television programmes. The Italian raid followed industry investigations in countries across Europe into the sale of the 12-disc unlicensed box set Masterbox, which contained music by international artists such as Bob Dylan, Depeche Mode, Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Tiziano Ferro.

Masterbox box sets had previously been manufactured in Poland, but the operation moved to Italy following raids by Polish police in February 2009. At that point, nine million copyright infringing albums in total were estimated to have been distributed around Europe, with an estimated trade value of around €19 million being put on the previous 15 editions of the box set series produced in the plant.

The operators of this profitable criminal enterprise sought to relocate after the Polish raids. Investigators from IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide and FPM, the local industry anti-piracy group, worked together when it was discovered that after a gap of a few months the manufacturing operation had been shifted to Bologna.

FPM worked with the Italian Fiscal Police to investigate the manufacturing plant that was producing new editions of the Masterbox series, while IFPI coordinated industry enquiries across Europe in support of the official investigation.

A forensic expert from IFPI's specialised London laboratory travelled to Italy to provide support for the Fiscal Police during the action and in their post-raid enquiries. More than 80,000 discs, more than half of which were hidden in waste disposal sacks, were seized in the raid along with a manufacturing line, printing equipment and stampers.

Jeremy Banks, director, anti-piracy at IFPI, says: 'This investigation highlights the international reach and resources available to the criminals responsible for this pirate release. The Masterbox series distributed in Europe is a classic example of a criminal enterprise involved in the lucrative business of copyright infringement.

'The music industry will continue to be vigilant and work internationally and locally in partnership with law enforcement to protect its rights. The Italian Fiscal Police have done a magnificent job taking decisive action and sending a strong message that they will actively investigate these types of offences.'

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