Spanish police (Guardia Civil) have launched Western Europe's biggest ever crackdown on blank CD-R discs, which were largely to have been used in the production of pirated music, according to London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
In a series of raids in late May, Spanish police dismantled a network involved in the illegal production and distribution of blank CD-Rs. About 1.7 million blank CD-Rs, mainly destined for the pirate market, were seized along with industrial production machinery, software and extensive documentation.
Spanish Guardia Civil carried out the operation in collaboration with IFPI and the Spanish recording industry association and IFPI national group AFYVE. The raids follow from investigations earlier in the year, when the Spanish authorities put out of action a network involved in illegal copying of CD-Rs. The discs, manufactured in a clandestine plant, led to arrests and the seizure of nearly 5,000 pirated music CDs and 66 burners. Further analysis confirmed that most of the seized discs were produced in plants in the Arag?n and Catalu?a regions, for their later distribution by a Madrid-based company.
In the latest action, police simultaneously raided two companies suspected of involvement in distribution, and three plants engaged in the illegal manufacturing of CD-Rs without the authorization of the patent owner.
Music piracy in Spain has risen to over 30 percent over the past few years, largely fuelled by CD-R piracy, according to the IFPI. "Organized criminal gangs involved in music piracy are producing millions of CD-Rs containing infringing music and using 'blanket men', largely illegal immigrants, to sell them on the streets of Spain," the organization said in a press release.