IFPI announced that Italian Fiscal Police have moved to dismantle a criminal operation that was selling pirate compilation discs through a website.
According to the statement, prosecutors have fined people who knowingly purchased the pirate compilations. The Desanzano Fiscal Police conducted a two-year investigation after a tip-off from FPM, the Italian recording industry’s anti-piracy group.
The organization was run by four individuals who were downloading copyright infringing films, games, music and software from peer-to-peer networks and burning them to discs. The gang then sold these discs as compilations and promoted them through an online mailing list, using encrypted emails and mobile connections.
During the raids, named “Operation Hook”, the Fiscal Police seized three PCs, six CD burners, 10 hard discs, more than 5,000 CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, more than 150,000 infringing film and music files and more than 15,000 games and professional software programs.
The four individuals have been prosecuted for infringing copyright law and face potential jail terms of up to four years, as well as administrative sanctions of €23 million (US $31.4 million).
Officers have also traced 38 serial purchasers of the illegal compilations who have been fined a total of €5,800 (US $7,900). This is the first time in Italy that people have been fined for purchasing copyright infringing material.
Enzo Mazza, president of FPM, which represents the recording industry in Italy, says: “The fines levied on those individuals who knowingly bought these illegal compilations send a strong message to consumers. If you knowingly purchase pirate goods you support and sustain the illegal economy. Police and prosecutors are taking action against the demand-side as well as the supply-side of the black market.”
Currency conversion as of February 13, 2010.
For more information visit: www.ifpi.org