Two Brazilian CD manufacturers have been ordered by a Brazilian court to pay record companies over R$3 million (US$1m) in South America's largest ever damages ruling for music piracy.
Novodisc Brasil Industria Ltda. manufactured pirate stampers (metal discs used in the manufacture of CDs) that were then used by Trace Disc Multimidia Ltda., to replicate tens of thousands of pirate CDs featuring music by major international artists. A civil court in S?o Paulo handed down the judgment last week after a three-year investigation by police and industry enforcement teams.
Police in Guarulhos, S?o Paulo, uncovered the mass copyright infringement in October 1999. Investigations showed that Trace Disc had produced some 150,000 pirate CDs from the Novodisc stampers, including music by well-known artists such as Donna Summer, The Mamas & The Papas, The Platters, Rod Stewart, Trini Lopez, the Bees Gees, Jimmy Hendrix and Tony Bennett.
The judgment sends a tough message to other copyright infringers in Brazil and around the region, according to the anti-piracy organisation Associa??o Protetora dos Direitos Intelectuais Fonogr?ficos. APDIF brought the damages claim on behalf of the recording industry in Brazil, supported by IFPI on behalf of the industry worldwide.
M?rcio Gon?alves, head of the Brazilian record industry association ABPD, said: "Piracy is killing the market for music in Brazil. Sales are down more than 60% in five years. This prevents record companies investing in new local talent and employing local people. The government loses vital tax revenue. The court's judgment shows that the industry is fighting back and will target anyone who is involved in supporting this flagrant theft."
Geoff Taylor, IFPI's Deputy General Counsel, said: "This case is a strong warning to anyone involved in CD piracy in Latin America. CD plants need to understand that if they produce pirate orders for third parties, they will pay a heavy price. It is their responsibility to check what they are manufacturing. IFPI is stepping up its enforcement activity in the region and will pursue anyone involved in piracy with the full force of the law."
The Brazilian music market, worth 998 million Reais (US$322 million) in 2001, has dropped from the sixth to the twelfth largest music market in the world in the last five years. Piracy has ravaged the local industry and pirate recordings now account for more than half of all recording sold. Brazilian artists bear the brunt of the damage, accounting for nearly 80% of all record sales in the country. ABPD estimates that the Brazilian music industry employs 55,000, directly and indirectly.