A court in Naples has handed down heavy jail sentences to an Italian family involved in music piracy. The sentences send an uncompromising message to any pirates thinking of taking advantage of the increase in CD sales at Christmas.
Four Frattasio brothers were sentenced to four and a half years in jail, for copyright law infringement and being involved in a criminal enterprise, on December 6. The father received three years. A total of 17 people were sentenced over what was one of the biggest anti-piracy investigations in Italy during the late 1990s. The sentences ranged from two months to four and a half years – and totaled 39 years.
The Frattasio brothers ran a major pirate network supplying the whole of Southern Italy with pirated music cassettes and CDs. The cassettes were recorded in a sophisticated laboratory located in Naples. The CDs were imported from Eastern Europe and from South East Asia.
The network used a number of companies to front the illegal activity. These companies were used to buy all the materials needed for the production of the pirate product – blank cassettes and jewel boxes for example. It was big business for the family – their revenue exceeded Euros 45,000 a week.
The Frattasio brothers were arrested in 1997 after a long investigation co-ordinated by Luciano D'Angelo, the Anti-Mafia Public Prosecutor, and managed by the Naples police. FPM, the Italian anti-piracy group, in cooperation with IFPI, assisted the police during the investigation and the raids.