A German man has been sentenced to one year's imprisonment, suspended for a year and fined 10,000 Euros for his part in operating the largest underground pirate CD plant discovered in Western Europe, according to the IFPI. He pleaded guilty to the charges.
The sentence stems from a raid in September last year on a plant in the Cologne/Bonn area of Germany. The illegal plant, the first of its kind ever found in the country, was producing CDs by artists such as Madonna and Rammstein, and pirate compilation albums for the Dutch market. Discs found in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK were forensically matched to the plant. The CD manufacturing equipment had an estimated annual production capacity of more than 1 million illegal CDs, with an estimated sales value of over 15 million Euros.
The raid was the culmination of a joint anti-piracy operation involving the German police, IFPI and its affiliate national group in Germany, and the Dutch criminal investigation department BumaStemra.
"The case was a startling example of the cross-border nature of music piracy. More and more, enforcement authorities are having to work in cooperation with their counterparts in other countries to tackle the international operations of this criminal business," said IFPI head of enforcement Iain Grant.
IFPI, representing the international recording industry, estimates a worldwide music piracy problem of over US$4.3 billion annually.