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Polish DVD counterfeiters caught in police raids

The IFPI has announced the success of raids by Polish police against an organised criminal syndicate that produced and distributed pirate music and films on an industrial scale.

The pirate operation had distributed an estimated 9 million albums, making it what is believed to be the largest copyright-infringing disc operation ever shut by police action in Europe.

The gang is suspected to be behind the Masterbox series, which consisted of DVDs containing pirate product, including more than 40 music albums in MP3 format. There have been 38 editions of the copyright infringing series, with the most recent 15 pressed in Poland. The trade value of the music in the Polish pressed editions of this long-running counterfeit series is estimated by the record industry at around €19 million.

Officers raided three premises, two replicating plants in Warsaw and Rybnik, and a professional distribution plant in Zabki. They had been alerted to their presence by IFPI and ZPAV, which represent the recording industry worldwide and in Poland.

IFPI investigators suspected the source of the Masterbox series after German customs officers passed on seized counterfeit CDs and DVDs to its forensics team who traced the discs' origins back to the plants in Poland and identified the operator of the clandestine factory who was in the process of buying equipment to increase his manufacturing capacity.

Police seized copyright-infringing DVDs containing pre-release versions of films such as Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler. Previous volumes of Masterbox contained hit albums such as Razorlight's Slipway Fires and Andrea Bocelli's Incanto.

Story filed 18.02.09

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