Bulgarian authorities fight with pirates

Bulgarian tax authorities on Friday destroyed more than 40,000 pirated compact discs, DVDs and videos. Tax officers seized the illegal copies from shops. The material was destroyed at a chemical factory on the outskirts of Sofia.

Despite frequent police raids, pirated movies and music appear on Sofia's streets within days of their world premieres, selling for no more than the equivalent of Ђ4, or US$5.

Some vendors of pirated videos and CDs in Bulgaria make a daily profit of 1,000 leva, which is about Ђ500 or US$620, said Vasil Panov, a senior tax official.

He added that the illegal business helps fund organized crime. The music industry has ranked Bulgaria as the world's second-largest manufacturer of pirate CDs, after China.

In the 1990s, those behind the trade in Bulgaria used retooled laser and precision optics technology left over from the Soviet bloc arms industry to produce millions of fake CDs each year.

Under international pressure and the threat of sanctions by the European Union, which Bulgaria aspires to join, the government has stepped up measures against illegal manufacturers, reports the AP. I.L.