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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Music giant sued for piracy
Pop group The Backstreet Boys
Backstreet Boys: One of the groups thought to be affected
Technicolor, one of the world's largest music and video companies, is being sued for allegedly producing pirate CDs of best-selling artists.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) took Technicolor to court in Los Angeles for copying and distributing pirated records of the likes of 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion and Lauryn Hill.

Technicolor denies the charges and says it will fight the case brought by the RIAA - the most influential music trade group in the US.


We fear that the CDs we have filed suit on are only the tip of the iceberg

Matt Oppenheim from the RIAA

The battle between two of the world's biggest names in the music industry highlights the increasing importance placed on the issue of music piracy.

The music industry says the practice costs it millions in lost profits each year.

The RIAA claims Technicolor has been using its factory in Camarillo, California, as a centre for pirating CDs.

"The physical evidence connecting the Technicolor plant to these CDs is crystal clear, so our case is strong," said Matt Oppenheim from the RIAA.

"We fear that the CDs we have filed suit on are only the tip of the iceberg."

Seizures

Technicolor's parent company, Thomson Multimedia SA, issued a statement of support on Thursday.

It called Technicolor "a trusted partner of major content providers".

But Thomson also said the allegations involved a "very small" number of CDs, copied before it acquired Technicolor.

CD being put into a hard drive
CD burning is on the increase

Technicolor has reportedly refused to allow its books to be looked at or to have its premises searched.

The RIAA also says the company has refused its offer of an out-of-court settlement.

The association represents big players in the US recording industry.

These include major labels like Warner Music Group, Universal Music, Sony, EMI and Bertelsmann.

Last year, the RIAA released figures showing that seizures of pirate CDs in the US had more than doubled in a year.

Police found and destroyed more than 1.2 million counterfeit CDs in the first half of 2001 alone.

The internet has added to the RIAA's problems with tracks being downloaded from online music sites and "burnt" onto blank CDs.

Global music sales have slowed down while the demand for all the media required for CD burning, the hardware and software, has increased.

But many music industry analysts feel CD copying poses the greater threat to industry revenues.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | New Media
'N Sync fight the CD pirates
12 Jun 01 | New Media
Hunting the music pirates
05 Jun 01 | Music
CD download deal for EMI
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