Record Labels, Music Publishers
The international recording industry has begun a new offensive against CD plants in Russia producing unauthorised optical discs that are exported all over the world. The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), representing over 1,500 record companies globally, has filed seven separate claims for damages totalling US$1,366,600 against a CD plant in Russia – the country with the biggest music pirate market in the world after China. These claims are the first of a series of civil proceedings to be taken against optical disc plants in Russia producing unauthorised CDs. The Moscow-based manufacturing plant, Russobit-Soft, is alleged to have manufactured counterfeit CDs by artists including Depeche Mode, Destiny’s Child, Enrique Iglesias, Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Whitney Houston and Westlife. This is the same plant that, in August of 2003, suffered the suspension of its licence under the CD Plant Licensing Regulations covering audiovisual works and phonograms, although it continues to manufacture discs containing software.
The cases are being brought on behalf of Arista Records Inc, BMG UK & Ireland Limited, EMI Music International Services Limited, Mute Records Limited, LLC Sony Music Entertainment (Russia), Sanctuary Records Group Limited and Warner Music Austria GesmbH. The plaintiff companies are claiming a combined indemnity of 40 million roubles, or US$1,366,600 million, as well as a prohibition on future manufacture of the titles alleged to have been illegally manufactured by Russobit and the confiscation of machinery and equipment used to produce them. IFPI intends to file further civil suits in the next months against other CD plants in the Russian Federation that are responsible for the production of infringing CDs. Russia is one of the top ten priority markets targeted in the fight against commercial piracy, with the number of CD plants more than doubling in the last three years and production capacity nearly tripling, while legitimate sales growth is much smaller than the growth of pirate sales. The activities of these plants has far-reaching effects; investigations by IFPI’s international anti-piracy investigators, aided by forensic analysis, have helped trace exports of Russian pirate CDs to no fewer than 26 countries, making Russia one of the leading exporters of mass produced pirate product.