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Thursday, December 19, 2002
Italian police forces crackdown on pirate christmas sales

In an unprecedent antipiracy effort coordinated by the Undersecretary of Interiors, Mantovano, the Italian police forces operated a major nationwide ckackdown on the sales and distribution of counterfeit music, DVD, software and videogames. Fiscal Police, Carabinieri and Police made seizure of pirate products at retailers, distributors, private homes, street vendors, express couriers.

In the week beginning on the 9th of December raids heve been carried on the national territory. Telecom Police carried out operation "Master Buster" where 454 retail stores were raided, 137 people have been referred to the Judicial Authority 77.832 CD, 5.328 DVD, 6.207 videocassets and, 17 cd burners were seized. Fiscal Police near Milan seized 11.000 CD and DVD at an express courier premises. 7 senegales identified as the recipient of the shipment were arrested.

In Milan police arrested 2 illegal distributors recipients of 23.000 pirate CDs from Naples. The Carabinieri arrested 8 people in Naples during a raid on a warehouse near the central railway station. 9,800 cds were seized. In Salerno the Police arrested a major courier of illegal cds. More than 3000 cds and a car were seized. The products were destined to street vendors active in the weeks before Christmas.

More pressure on pirate sales during the Christmas weeks was recently asked to the Ministry of Interiors by FIMI, the Italian Federation of the Music Industry and FPM, Federation against music piracy.

Two weeks ago a Court in Naples handed down heavy jail sentences to an Italian family involved in music piracy 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.

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