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Appeared on: Monday, June 12, 2000
Cyber-Pirates Loot Asia's Web Boom

"...Feng's rock band, The Fly, has released two CDs in the past three years. But before either was available in stores, China's prolific music pirates had them on the Internet for free download.

The Internet "provides a new, fast-growing channel for music piracy. The best that music companies can hope for now is not to lose money on an album. A profit is impossible." Feng says. The same complaint is heard throughout Asia, which is suffering a wave of cyber piracy. Musicians, authors and software makers say Internet technology that is revolutionizing other industries also has created vast new opportunities to spread illegal copies of their work.

The fight goes beyond the debate in the United States over Web surfers sharing digital versions of songs. Many Asian pirates use free music and other material to lure Web surfers to their Internet sites, then make money from e-sales of other goods or from advertisers interested in reaching the sites' visitors.

Industry groups say Asian governments are only beginning to understand that the theft robs their own creative industries of badly needed revenue.

"A lot of governments don't think Internet piracy is a real problem, because they think their Internet industries are so undeveloped," said Sean Mok at the Hong Kong office of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries, a recording industry group. Piracy in some countries is developing as fast as legitimate online activity. Dozens of sites offer illegally copied music, software, computer games and novels..."



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