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Appeared on: Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Spanish police arrest 40, confiscate 240,000 pirate CDs, DVDs

Police arrested 40 people and needed two large trucks to cart away more than 240,000 CDs and DVDs in Spain's biggest crackdown on pirate recording, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said Monday. The raids over the past 24 hours took place in 11 Madrid apartments, a country villa and a warehouse on the capital's outskirts, said Acebes. The 40 arrested included 29 Chinese, nine Senegalese and two Taiwan-born Spaniards.

The recording scam, run by two Chinese immigrants who were identified by their initials only, was capable of producing 60 million pirate copies of records and videos a year using 346 recorders, or burners.

The compact discs and digital video discs seized in the raid had a street value of at least 2 million euros ($US 2.1 million) while police estimated the fraud had cost the entertainment industry and the Spanish treasury 600 million euros ($US 640 million) in a year.

Pirate recordings are easily available throughout Spain with DVDs going for some eight euros ($US 8.5), less than half the price of an original, and CDs at three euros (dollars), a sixth of the average original price.

Drops in sales of original recordings have triggered protests by Spanish musicians who accuse authorities of letting pirate dealers operate freely.

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