Mexico has seen one of its biggest crackdowns against music piracy, with a series of raids resulting in the seizure of approximately one million pirate music discs and the arrest of 25 individuals.
Authorities from the Attorney General's Office and its specialised Intellectual Property unit from Mexico City, assisted by 200 local police officers, executed 108 search warrants on the San Juan de Dios Market in Guadalajara, Mexico on February 15.
The raids are the latest in a concerted industry effort to reduce the endemic piracy problem in Mexico under a new IFPI-sponsored project called 'Mexico Plus'. Launched in August 2004, it is a project aimed at intensifying anti-piracy, business promotion and lobbying actions in one location.
Following the raids, 24 of the 108 market stalls have been closed indefinitely. Local authorities will determine if the operating permits for these locations can be revoked for conducting illegal business in violation of city codes.
Mexico, with a piracy level of 61% in 2003, is one of the top ten priority territories named in IFPI's Commercial Piracy Report 2004.
Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest music market and was selected for the 'Mexico Plus' project because its traditionally strong and vibrant music scene has been devastated by piracy.
As part of the programme, the government of Jalisco State, which incorporates Guadalajara, pledged to tackle piracy through strong legislation, effective enforcement and administrative procedures, and, at the same time begin a programme of converting illegal street traders to licensed music retailers.
Under this programme, individual record companies are supplying 'budget' music products to legal sellers in the hope that all parties will benefit - record companies and artists through additional sales, street vendors and distributors who can abandon illegal enterprises, the government through increased tax revenue, and the public at large if this project succeeds and the industry can take greater investment risks in the development of new talent.
Raul Vazquez, Regional Director, IFPI Latin America said: "This is a major step in fighting piracy in Guadalajara reflecting the very strong cooperation that now exists between the recording industry and the Mexican authorities over the Mexico Plus project. If this approach proves successful, Mexico Plus could serve as a great model for other regions, and countries where piracy is rampant."
"Following these raids, we hope the municipal authorities will revoke the commercial licenses given to individuals and market stalls selling pirate product"