Music industry anti-piracy conference convenes in Cape Town
October 11, 2001 - Record industry representatives, investigators and senior enforcement officials from over 40 countries have convened at the international music industry's principal annual world anti-piracy conference in Cape Town, South Africa this week.
The keynote theme of this year's event is private-public partnership, reflecting the growing cooperation between industry, government and enforcement authorities worldwide. This is underscored by the participation of leading members of Interpol and of other crime-fighting organisations including the South African Police Service and South African Customs, UK Police, Hong Kong Customs, the Palestinian Ministry of Economy & Trade, the Ministry of Arts & Culture in Mauritius and China's Ministry of Culture. Optical disc-based industries such as computer software, games and film are also represented.
Hosted by RISA, the recording industry association in South Africa, the three-day programme focuses on the industry's global priorities in the fight against music piracy worldwide.
Piracy, much of it linked to organised crime, is the biggest single problem for the global music industry today. Last year, the pirate music market totalled 1.8 billion units and was worth an estimated US$4.2 billion annually. IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, has responded by setting up a 50-strong global network of regional and local investigators, supported by training, analytical and forensic staff.
Fuelling the current spread of music piracy is the huge growth of the CD-Recordable disc (CD-R). The latest trend is for small, garage-based pirate CD-R labs, which are taking over from the mass manufacture of pirate CDs at optical disc plants. Latest IFPI data shows that seizures of pirate CD-Rs rose to over ten million so far in 2001. This is a 200% increase over the past year. In Latin America and some European countries, criminal syndicates are running huge CD-R piracy operations, recording and distributing millions of CD-Rs. Pirate syndicates are increasingly moving into smaller-sized CD-R laboratories under pressure from anti-piracy actions by enforcement authorities supported by the music industry.
The conference is also focusing on investigative techniques used in the fight against the international traffic in illegal CDs, as well as the fight against internet piracy. IFPI's internet anti-piracy unit took down over 15,000 offending websites in 2000. Sessions are looking at recent case studies and the industry's legal and litigation strategies and there are presentations on IFPI's forensic facilities, pirate product databases and new technologies being marshaled in the fight against piracy.
Developing the music market in South Africa
The conference also worked on the anti-piracy strategy in South Africa. The music industry is investing more anti-piracy resources inthe country, having appointed a new regional anti-piracy coordinator for Africa in August. The strategy will target both domestic piracy and the proliferation of illegal recordings in neighbouring countries, principally Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe, which is stunting the potential expansion of record companies based in South Africa.
South Africa is the largest and one of the most vibrant music markets on the African continent, worth US$150 million in 2000. But the market is badly affected by piracy, currently estimated as running between 15% and 25% of the market. The total value of the pirate market was estimated at US$35 million for 2000. Cassettes have been the biggest problem format, accounting for around three quarters of the pirate market. However, CD-R piracy has increased sharply in the past year.
Piracy is a major drain on the music industry in South Africa. Illegal recordings are robbing artists, songwriters and record producers of the rewards for their creativity.
A recent long-awaited report by the government-appointed Music Industry Task Team (MITT) has been released was hailed as a potential blueprint for developing the recording industry in South Africa and across the continent. It underlines the cultural and economic importance of music in South Africa, but calls for improvements in the legislation and enforcement of the country's anti-piracy laws.
Iain Grant, director of enforcement for IFPI said, "International cooperation between the industry and enforcement authorities is one of our top priorities in the fight against music piracy today. We welcome our colleagues in police, customs and other government organisations to this conference and look forward to our ongoing collaborations making significant inroads against global piracy."
Leslie Sedibe, chairman of RISA said, "South Africa is at a crucial time for the development of its music industry. We are delighted to host this event, which helps focus local authorities on the dangers piracy presents. We also welcome the recent MITT report's recommendations, which include acceding to the WIPO treaties, boosting anti-piracy measures and the appointment of a copyright tribunal. Music culture is strong in South Africa, and it is crucial for the future health of the industry that we protect our heritage and our artists."
IFPI is the organisation representing the global recording industry, with over 1,400 members in more than 70 countries.
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