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Music industry to step up anti-piracy fight
http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c
=StoryFT&cid=1042490909139&p=1012571727088

   By Tim Burt in Cannes
   Published: January 19 2003 21:58 | Last Updated: January 19 2003 21:58
   Music piracy
   
   The music industry on Sunday vowed to step up its fight against fraud
   after losing more than $5bn of sales to illegal CD piracy and internet
   downloading last year.
   
   Losses linked to piracy were up almost 20 per cent, or about
   $700m-$800m on the $4.3bn value of illegally copied CDs and internet
   files in 2002, according to internal industry estimates.
   
   [snip]   
   Global music sales fell almost 10 per cent last year, reducing the
   retail value of the market to about $30bn, its lowest in almost a
   decade.
   
   The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents
   US labels, said piracy was responsible for two-thirds of last year's
   sales decline in the US. Falling music sales have undermined profits
   at groups such as EMI and Universal. Industry analysts have named EMI
   as a possible merger candidate for BMG or Warner Music.
   
[snip]   
" Mr Berman
   said the IFPI had helped close 55 illegal CD factories last year and
   seized 34m illegal discs, while promoting legitimate on-line music
   services and urging governments to implement the new European
   directive on copyright protection.
[end]

Everything I've read so far seems to be figures "out of thin air" without substantiated documentation.  The industry is yelling "wolf" to the legislators to fix the criminal element (last paragraph) through legislation on copyright "enclosing" public domain and hurting users, critics, and legitimate "fair use" of materials.
  
  I don't doubt there is a problem such as "55 illegal CD factories" but the various governments and police can't be blind to the distribution outlets of these illegitimate sales, can they? Most citizens of any major city can tell one where to buy "illegal" recordings.  I'm not even from there and I can tell you where to get this stuff in Vancouver, BC. I would think policing the problem would be easier than buying politicians and creating more laws.

In addition, I think RIAA and others are giving too much credit to illegal copying, when whole industries, stock market and all are down, creating bankruptcies, home reposesions (because banks loaned on the basis of stock options -money and revenue that didn't exist until the options were actualized.)  I suspect the high fliers who were once buying all this stuff, are no longer in the money and aren't buying a lot of the CDs, just as they aren't buying new computers or software or other new stuff.  They may even be kicking back and listening to some of the CDs they bought over the last year, now that they are unemployed. 

And my favoite "hobby horses", does the industry look to itself and wonder why sales are down, that perhaps they aren't producing anything worthwhile to buy?  Does the industry have a clue to demographics that show that 45% or more of the countries citizens are or will shortly be over 50 and they have all the toys and CDs they want and aren't buying any more stuff?  There are such things as finite markets.