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German police raids Europe's largest illegal CD/DVD pressing plant

German authorities have discovered what they claim is possibly Europe's largest underground pressing plant for CDs, DVDs and vinyl records. The state prosecutor at Würzburg's Economic Crime department is leading a preliminary investigation against a person suspected of the unauthorised reproduction of copyrighted audio and video material on a large scale.

Several properties in the area of Aschaffenburg, and in the federal state of Hessen, were raided by the CID Aschaffenburg and Würzburg's state prosecutor as part of the operation. A large volume of evidence has been seized and the evaluation of the material is still ongoing. The raids uncovered a very large-scale, highly professional production plant, and officials seized significant numbers of CDs, DVDs and vinyl records.

The preliminary investigations were conducted on behalf of Bundesverband Musikindustrie e. V. (German Federal Music Industry Association - BVMI) by the intellectual property protection association proMedia Gesellschaft zum Schultz geistigen Eigentums mbH, and were coordinated at the international level with IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide.

"With a market share of 70%, there is still a high demand for CDs in Germany - this is evident not only in the legitimate business, but unfortunately also on the illegal market," Dr Florian Drücke, CEO of Bundesverband Musikindustrie, said. "The equipment found here demonstrates once again that this is not the work of petty criminals, but of professional organisations whose criminal activities inflict massive damage on artists and the recording industry."

Last year, German consumers were reported to have spent €1.8 billion on packaged media - some 90% of total video spending - and more than 80% was accounted for by DVD/Blu-ray sales (as opposed to rental).

"While digital piracy makes the headlines, this case clearly shows that the industry also continues to take action against those who illegally make money through the manufacture, distribution and sale of unlicensed physical media," adds Jeremy Banks, IFPI's Director of Anti-Piracy.

Story filed 20.07.14

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