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RIAA Annual Commercial Piracy Report

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 14 Jul 2005 7:48 User comments (23)

RIAA Annual Commercial Piracy Report The Recording Industry Association of America's annual commercial piracy report has been published. Since it is on the subject of commercial piracy, it does not deal with Internet piracy (e.g. file sharing of copyrighted music). The report shows that trafficking in pirated music is getting increasingly sophisticated with closer ties to organised crime. Pirate music distributors are producing and selling very high quality discs and artwork that closely resemble legit CDs.
The RIAA report claims that criminal enterprises are becoming increasingly involved in the trade, burning massive amounts of music to blank CDs from today's biggest selling artists. "The practice and trade of music piracy have become more sophisticated, cunning and connected to organized crime," said Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President of Anti-Piracy. "Working with law enforcement officials across the country, we continue to develop and implement multifaceted strategies to respond to these emerging threats to artists, songwriters, record labels and others in the music community."

There has been a 58% increase in the seizure of counterfeit CDs (the CDs that are of such high quality they are easily mistaken for legit copies). Working with local authorities in the U.S., the RIAA seized 1.2 million discs in 2004, many of which lead back to CD production plants. The numbers of these "plants" are growing rapidly as technology continues to advance producing more equipment to make high quality copies of music at high speeds.

The RIAA claims that CD-R reproduction in the eastern half of the United States is now dominated by organized criminal syndicates intent on monopolizing the illicit market share by operating on high volume and very low profit margins. While huge amounts of pirated CDs are needed to create the profits the criminal organisations desire, the RIAA has praised the local police authorities whose actions have forced the sellers to change their habits.

Because of increased litigation against these pirates, many that still exist now are forced not to keep much pirated product on hand which has led to the RIAA's searches confiscating more "raw materials". Seizures of counterfeit labels for example rose a dramatic 372%. Seizures of CD burning equipment has risen also by nearly double the 2003 figures whereas the seizures of counterfeit CD-R's (finished product) in these cases declined by 27%.

"Prosecutors and policymakers at all levels of government increasingly recognize that piracy operations not only undermine the continued investment in new music but affect the quality of life of communities and deprive state and local governments of tax revenues," Buckles said. The RIAA is keeping a main focus on the piracy of Latin music in particular is it is among the most heavily pirated genres.

"The RIAA's continued focus on the disproportionate level of piracy affecting the Latin music genre will continue to help to foster a better business environment and allow for future growth in the Latin music market," said Rafael Fernandez, Jr., Vice President, Latin Music for the RIAA. "There is no question that our efforts have made a real impact - an impact that will translate into real benefits for current and future Latin artists and their fans. We nonetheless know there is tremendous work left to be done."


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23 user comments

114.7.2005 11:38

That is interesting to note that the Latin music market is the most pirated. Why would that be? Could it be that the majority of the people in the market for that music are also low-income? (I hope that doesn't sound bigotted!) It would be interesting to see if the piracy rate would go down if the retail price were dropped.

214.7.2005 12:36

I think that the piracy rate would drop if the music industry would stop "raping and pilaging" and drop their prices to something reasonable for people of all incomes.

314.7.2005 14:05

i dont think that people would stop.

414.7.2005 14:22

I wont stop, it would lessen the amount though. I think that a lot of people would stop or lessen the amount they pirate though. I'm just angry that they are getting my money. When I get System of a Downs new CDs I expect them to get most of the money for creating the tunes I am rocking to.

514.7.2005 16:33

I don't think we are the big issue. It seems they are more pissed off at the people who sell the copies.

614.7.2005 17:31

True, but that doesnt stop them from suing 12 year olds and grandmas to get some pocket change and spread a blanket of fear over middle class america.

714.7.2005 17:51

I have little (actually more like no) sympathy for the music industry. The prices pirates charge for music are far more reasonable than anything the music industry has devised yet.

814.7.2005 18:06

Charge? Pay anyone for anything? Hell, P2P the songs you want. Not that I would do it of course ;)

915.7.2005 9:09

Itís always lower income countries that have higher piracy rates i.e., China. Itís pretty sad that a good CD costs from $12usd to $17usd but a movie only costs $10usd to $20usd and if you buy it in the first week of release itís about $15usd. It takes a lot more to produce a movie! As you will never get rid of all piracy reducing rates to a reasonable amount would reduce piracy significantly but for big business they want it all and love to cry went they donít get their way. Itís also proven that when the economy is good that some piracy stimulates sales just like other types of advertising but youíll never hear that from the RIAA. Look at how the RIAA tried to shutdown WEB sites hosting up and coming artists that quite honestly the RIAA would have snubbed. The more money these companies have the more greed and control they expect, monopolies kill us and our government is support to protect us but they are part of the problem as well. An example of crying when your ahead is the MPAA how is upset that box office sales are slumping, when there DVD sales are sky rocketing. The box office sales would increase if they would start putting out good movies but is also affected by DVD sales, seasonal sales, and economic issues as well.

1015.7.2005 9:18

i have a different take on all of this. as said earlier, its not really about us pirates who download... its about people who make and distribute mass copies. i think about the person buying the pirated CD in the end. does he/she know that its a pirated CD, or do they think its a legit copy? if they know its pirated, then im all in favor of it. but if theyre buying a CD of lesser quality and still paying the ridiculous price because they think its a legit copy, then i dont think its okay. im in no means in favor of the RIAA and i do believe that until something is done to lower the cost of CDs dramatically (to the point where i find some benefit in actually owning a legit CD), myself and millions more will and should continue to pirate music for themselves... but if its someone who has to work their butt off 3 or 4 hours making minimum wage just to buy a pirated CD they think is real, then i dont think its okay as the pirates are turning out to be as bad as the RIAA themselves.

1115.7.2005 10:04

Hmmm wonder if those pirate copies,"(the CDs that are of such high quality they are easily mistaken for legit copies)" ended up on the shelves of retailers. All that money theose piraters must have saved in production costs. As for the high proportion of illegal Latin Music well what do you expect. Hardly anyone down there can afford to buy any CD's. Maybe the world bank can lend the South American CD buying public the money. They're good at lending money to societies who can't afford to pay back the loan. Oh BZBoarder many legit CD's are of such low quality and most use up less than 50% of the space available on a CD. The old vynal 12 tracks still reigns. (12 tracks was virtually the limit an old vynal LP could contain) Again I challenge all record companies to make all their finacial details public. Show us the % of total income paid out in royalties and the % of all signed artists who actually recieve a check and not a bill. You won't and you know why, because it would kill every argument you lot have ever put forward. End of rant.

1215.7.2005 11:13

many legit CD's are of such low quality and most use up less than 50% of the space available on a CD. The old vynal 12 tracks still reigns. (12 tracks was virtually the limit an old vynal LP could contain)
i dont dispute that some CDs are low quality and the record companies dont put out CDs that are as best quality as they could... but if i paid for a legit CD, i would be mad if i found out it was pirated when i could have done that myself.

1315.7.2005 11:28

The last CD I bought was a copy of Pink Floyd the Wall. I was rather pissed I had to pay $35 for the 2-CD pack. That album was made how long ago? Every time I go to buy CD's in my area, they are $17 - $22 each. Unless I go to Wal-Mart and get the rated G versions. Lame. That is why I no longer buy CD's. I do pay for reasonably priced shareware, and other things that are reasonably priced. Law of supply and demand.

1415.7.2005 13:35

At the low price it costs the industry to make CDs and DVDs the real criminals are those who sell them for such high prices. If you can buy CD-Rs for $0.05 each, imagine what not only the producers but the middle men and the music store owners are making on them. It makes me sick to go and buy a new CD for high dollar especially the ones that are made up of remixed or long-version songs. Pirating won't stop even if they lowered the prices to a reasonable rate, but the industry would certainly sell more and still make a good profit.

1516.7.2005 5:59

The last CD I bought was, interestingly enough, Pink Floyd The Wall. Although I bought a used copy as it is much more worth the $12 bucks I spent on a "scratched" deluxe packaging release that was realistically in perfect working order except for a smudge on one disc. Maybe the local used CD stores are just really good, but I would expect the same kind of thing most anywhere. The only way I buy CDs is if they are used or if I buy them from an independent seller, as on Amazon. Therefore, no money goes to the RIAA. But Something else has been bugging me about this article. How in the world could you mistake a pirated copy for a real one, I mean there have to be some obvious giveaways. First, if it's just some guy on a street corner, isn't it obvious? Even if they have a huge storefront and all that, isn't it obvious when the dye on the CD is green? Even if they shrinkwrap the CDs, isn't it obvious if there are no security stickers on the case itself? And of course, if you buy the CD "brand new" for 2 bucks, I mean come on, you'd have to be suspicious at that point. I really just think people are either far too trusting or maybe just ignorant. I download music to see if I like it. If I find out I do, I go out and buy a legitimate used copy for half the price you'd pay for a new one. But the point is, I spend money to get the real thing, not just worthless copies. I REALLY dont see the point in spending money on a piece of worthless pirated shit. And one more for my anti paid downloads mentality: THERE IS NO POINT IN PAYING FOR MUSIC UNLESS YOU GET A FULL PHYSICAL UNRESTRICTED COPY. There is just too much I have to say to go on any longer.

1616.7.2005 16:32

You can get a professional CD / DVD reproducing machine easily for under $2,000usd so the bottom doesn't have to be green or purple for it to be a pirated disc and it's not hard to scan the label and reprint it as an exact duplicate. So it's not always easy to tell except as you pointed out the price or location you buy it. A friend told me that Wally World (WalMart) sells music that has been censored, in other words you don't get the full content like watching commercial TV so beware if you shop their, I don't typically.

1716.7.2005 17:24

I really think most of a real musician's income are from real live shows and concerts and the aftersales of memorabilias,etc. that's why few musicians are complaining real loud, at least that's what a musician friend of mine tells me, he is a backup for a concert artist. Now about the figures RIAA are presenting methinks it wouldn't be that high if the cds and dvds are lower priced.

1817.7.2005 2:22

My opinion is that they selling rocks for gold. They spread around in high speeds trash of music ainibg to ages 12-14 which are depending from the family income. If you gone around and seek for procrs you' ll find out that some very old productions e.g. Pink Floyd, Scorpions, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppeling and much more others have the same price with the day when their albums were remastered for the cd narket. Who's gonna pay for an album which will be disapear from the face of nusic stores and reapear to supermarkets next o the cucumbers with the same price per unit? Who will invest in that rubbish? On the other hand the prices are far away from their real value for the entire production leading the target group putting hands in the family wallets nad/or to making illegal copies of the original productions. Who's gonna make illegal copies when the original will cost maximum about eur 9,00 or approximately usd 10,2? If they really want to make a fortune from a production they have first to really invest first, not just collect garbagges from the trash cans.

1918.7.2005 0:05

Getting some myths out of the way. Back in the 70's the US Federal Govt gave the record compnaies the right to OWN any recording they produced. The rights to most major songs over the past 50 years are owned by corporations, with a few notable exceptions eg Brian Wilson. Some examples: The Beatles: MacArtney and Lennon sold the rights to most of their music. All the CCR hits are no longer owned by the writer, John Foghety. There are many many more like this. Now as the record company ownd the original recording and probably the rights to the songs they and a handful of major corporations get 90% of the total sales dollar for every "Best of" cd released. Why do you think there are so many. Artists that did not write their own material or were silly enough to sell the rights to their songs get zuilch, nothing not a penny from those re-released songs. Even new artists are tied up with contracts that take away future earnings. The whole recording industry stinks and the stink is enhansed by legislative support. I suggest a look at Janice Ian's web site. 20 albums and not one penny in royalties.

2018.7.2005 0:38

Correction to last post. Site is Read her articles on the entire recording industry and see just how bad a lot they are.

2127.1.2006 7:43

I find it funny that even while reading an article on a web-site im being exposed to advertisements. Ahh isnt it a beautiful world.

2227.1.2006 7:45

Btw never download "Limewire" it is like putting your mouth on a bee hive......of viruses. -Bedevere: What makes you think she's a witch? Peasant: Well she turned me into a newt! Bedevere: A newt? Peasant: I got better. Crowd: Burn her anyway!-

2328.1.2006 4:28

More excuses from a dying industry.

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