Swell of pirated tapes has ebbed by 15%-20%

The Russian market had some 15%-20% fewer counterfeit audio- and videotapes in 2003 as compared with 2002, Aleksey Orlov, who heads the Interior Ministry's Main Administration Against Economic Crimes, said at a press conference here Monday, Rosbalt reported. He credited the reduction 'to special measures taken to identify and confiscate counterfeit material.' Said Orlov: 'Earlier, pirated editions made up 80%-85% of all tapes on the market in Russia.'

He also said the Interior Ministry and the State Trade Inspectorate of the Economic Development Ministry launched a number of programs in February 2004, under the general campaign title of 'Piracy 2004.' 'As a result, we closed down 48 illegal plants producing audio- and videotapes and started 189 criminal proceedings,' Orlov said. The confiscated material was worth more than USD 7 million, he said.

According to statistics compiled by Orlov's Main Administration for 2003, more than 100,000 enterprises were checked, and the illegal activities of 4,500 persons and corporate entities were stopped, including the production of tapes by 500 underground workshops. The investigations led to the filing of 3,500 criminal cases. The confiscated material was valued at USD 31 million.

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