U.K. music biz seeks stricter piracy regs

Study: fake CDs cost biz the sale of 37 mil units

The U.K. record industry is calling on government to introduce stricter legislation to combat piracy, after a survey found sales of fake CDs cost record companies £165 million ($311.6 million) last year.

Findings of the study, revealed Monday by trade association the British Phonographic Industry, suggest physical music piracy in the U.K. cost the industry the sale of 37 million units, or some 10% of the year’s 159 million album sales.

The number is equivalent to more than the combined legal sales of the 13 top-selling albums in the U.K. last year.

Study, undertaken by independent research company Ipsos in February and March, surveyed 2,000 people age 15 and older. The study captured pirate activity that takes place “under the radar,” counting, for example fakes bought in bars, on the street, on holiday abroad, via auction Web sites and from friends and colleagues.

The BPI participated in more than 900 raids and piracy cases in 2005, but it relies on the police and the Trading Standards Authorities to carry out raids and seize counterfeit product.

But intellectual property crime is not a top priority for police, so the onus falls upon the Trading Standards Authorities, which the BPI said lacks power and resources to tackle organized and well-funded criminal networks.

The BPI wants the government to make five changes to help fight intellectual property crime: Police should prioritize intellectual property crime; Trading Standards Authorities should have the power and duty to tackle copyright crime; flea markets should be regulated; counterfeiters should receive financial punishments; and company directors should be made liable for workplace piracy.

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