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32,254 counterfeit CDs seized in raid on Merseyside piracy operation

By | Published on Friday 24 June 2022


With the sale of physical discs still accounting for about a fifth of the UK record industry’s revenues, I guess there’s still money to be made from good old fashioned CD piracy, even if it all feels a bit old school. Which is why the City Of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit – aka PIPCU – has taken action against a bootleg CD operation based out of Merseyside.

PIPCU yesterday confirmed that it had seized 32,254 counterfeit CDs “worth an estimated loss to the industry of £169,708” after raiding three properties on The Wirral on Tuesday, two commercial premises and one residential. The CDs were being sold on Amazon, and it was the anti-piracy team at the online retailer, as well as record industry trade group BPI, which reported the counterfeit CD operation to the specialist IP crime unit.

Says PIPCU’s Andy Cope: “Counterfeit CDs can have a damaging effect on legitimate businesses and cause substantial losses to artists and the music industry. It is also important for the public to remember that sales from counterfeit goods can fund other forms of criminal activity, such as modern-day slavery and drug dealing”.

“This operation should send a strong warning that the sale of counterfeit goods will not be tolerated”, he added. “It also shows the effectiveness of partnership working in tackling intellectual property crime, and I’d like to thank Amazon, the BPI and the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit for their support”.

Meanwhile, Kebharu Smith, Director of Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit, adds: “Amazon will keep investing and innovating to stay ahead of counterfeiters so that customers can shop with confidence in our store. We will also continue working with trade organisations and law enforcement – as we have done here successfully with the BPI and PIPCU – to hold bad actors accountable. We don’t just want to chase them away from Amazon – we want to stop them for good”.

And the BPI’s Head Of Content Protection, Paola Monaldi, says: “The BPI welcomes the warrants carried out by PIPCU. Music fans love genuine CDs and vinyl – they are an important way for people to enjoy and gift music, and for creators to benefit. Genuine physical formats account for over 20% of industry revenues from all purchased and streamed music. But creators don’t receive a penny from counterfeits because the money goes to criminals”.

“That’s why the BPI continues to take action to protect consumers from fake CDs and to work closely with the police and in partnership with online marketplaces like Amazon”, she goes on. “We look forward to the next phase of this investigation, and to continuing our other work to reduce physical infringement in the UK”.

One man was arrested during this week’s raids and has since been released pending investigation.