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Appeared on: Monday, July 08, 2002
Illegal CD factory uncovered in Belgrade

Serbian police have seized 750,000 illegal compact discs, audio and DVD recordings in the biggest crackdown on widespread piracy in the country, police said Sunday.

The contraband, complete with a disc-making machine and burners for duplicating the mostly foreign audio and video material on them, as well as thousands of labels, were found Saturday in a warehouse in the capital, police spokeswoman Dragana Kajganic said.

The warehouse was used by a privately owned, Belgrade-based company whose owners police declined to identify. But they said its papers showed that the key piece of equipment, for cranking out the cheap knockoffs, had been imported with forged documents from neighboring Bulgaria, a one-time CD piracy haven.

"This is the biggest seizure in our country so far," Kajganic said, adding that it was part of efforts by the current government, which ousted former leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, to restore the rule of law, including copyright laws and intellectual property rights.

Pirated CDs and DVDs are still widely available here from street vendors for as little as dlrs 1 and dlrs 5, respectively. Unauthorized computer software is also often sold for a fraction of its regular price.

Criminal charges against members of the apparent piracy ring were expected, pending the results of a full investigation, Kajganic said.


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