ROME — Figures released by Italy’s Federation Against Music Piracy have set alarm bells ringing throughout the national music industry, with annual piracy revenues now totaling $122 million and representing 25%-30% of the Italian market.
Italy is in fourth place on the international list of countries most affected by music piracy. Top of the chart is Russia, where 70% of the music market is pirated, followed by China with 60% and Brazil with 45%.
In 1999 alone, police in Italy confiscated 1.6 million pirated CDs, representing a 30% increase on the number of illegally reproduced discs snatched in 1998. CD sales account for 60% of the national black market, while pirated cassette sales have dropped.
In parts of Southern Italy, where piracy is most widespread, it is estimated that one of every two music albums in circulation is an illegal copy.
Antipiracy Federation president Enzo Mazza warned that Internet piracy is growing in direct proportion to the overall growth of the music industry, with 500 illegal sites shut down in Italy and abroad in 1999.