IFPI report names ten worst nations

LONDON — Illegal music sales accounted for $4.5 billion last year, the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Thursday.

The trade org, which represents more than 1,450 record companies, estimates that a record 1.1 billion pirated CDs were sold globally last year, some 35% of all music disc sales.

In terms of value, China tops the list, where IFPI said the pirate market is worth nearly $600 million.

Publishing its Commercial Piracy Report 2004, the org asked governments for strong and up-to-date copyright laws, regulation of disc manufacturing and a commitment to prosecute copyright crime aggressively combined with stiff sentences.

The news came on the same day that Apple announced it had finally agreed to terms with some European indie record labels to sell their repertoire at its iTunes musicstore. The deal covers acts including Basement Jaxx, the Strokes, Prodigy, Badly Drawn Boy and Morrissey. It’s one more step in expanding the locations where fans can download music legally.

ITunes bowed in Europe a month ago with music from the major record companies. But it lagged behind rival service Napster, which secured rights to indie repertoires before it made its European debut in May.

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