BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 22 July, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Belgrade fights CD pirates
Shoppers at a Belgrade bootleg CD stall
Up to 95% of CDs in Yugoslavia are fake

There is no getting around the fact; CDs in Belgrade are cheap in European terms.


Piracy is flourishing around the city and something should be done to stop that

Deputy Culture Minister Aleksandra Jovicevic
The number one world-wide smash for instance, Eminem's album The Eminem Show, will set you back a mere two euros.

And it is good quality, which is important, because it is estimated up to 95% of all CDs sold in Yugoslavia are fakes, albeit good quality ones.

Political target

Pirating is a big business here. You could almost say a way of life.

Bootleg Eminem CD at a kiosk in Belgrade
Stamping out piracy will be tough when teenagers are used to cheap CDs
In Belgrade, high street shops and row upon row of kiosks sell pirated CDs.

"I'm used to pirates because they are very cheap," one woman told me.

Another, a teenager, said: "We don't have enough money to buy original disks, and I don't think it's right, but it has become normal for us."

But soon, if the Serbian government gets its way, it could be wiped out.

Politicians here are keen to be seen to be clearing up all parts of society and the economy, and CD piracy is one of their targets.

"Piracy is flourishing around the city and something should be done to stop that," Deputy Culture Minister Aleksandra Jovicevic told me.

Legalisation

But she agreed it would be tough for young people who have got used to cheap CDs.


Piracy is how many of the music shops here started...It is the only way I can survive

Anonymous shop owner
In the 1990s when the country was cut off because of war and sanctions, piracy, illegal copying and the internet were all ways that young people stayed in touch with cultural developments in the rest of Europe.

She said there will be no sudden bulldozing of pirate CDs.

But soon, she said, the CD market will have to be made legal.

"If you want to go back to normal life and to be integrated to Europe again then you have to obey certain laws, and it's obvious you have to improve this situation," she said.

That could mean CD prices going up to more normal European levels of 12 or 14 euros.

But here, average wages are just 100 euros a month.

"Where will I find the money to buy original CDs?" one shopper asked me.

"This is the only way we can have fun," another said.

Valid employment?

Music has, up until now, been a cheap way of having a good time.

Belgrade teens shopping at a kiosk for pirate CDs
For some Belgrade teenagers piracy is the only way to make money
I went to one of Belgrade's housing estates to meet up with 22-year-old Dushan.

He estimated that he has invested 30,000 euros in his illegal piracy operation.

He ships 10,000 CDs across Yugoslavia each month. And he is one of the smaller operators.

"It'll be a catastrophe if they do this," he said.

"I employ 50 people, they employ others and they all have families, so when this happens a lot of people will lose out."

Going mainstream

I asked Dushan if he was ashamed he was breaking the law.

"There is no other chance to make money", he replied.

"I could be an alcoholic, or drug addict like my friends. I made this as a way out of that."

He said he wants to open a legal music shop.

"Piracy is how many of the music shops here started," he said.

Clearly music shops here do not admit that, but one owner, who wished to remain anonymous, did say that he still sells pirate CDs.

"It is the only way I can survive," he told me.

"Probably 65% of my sales are illegal CDs."

And this in a respectable high-street store.

Benefit for consumers?

"The local music industry is suffering because their CDs are reproduced as well, and no one is motivated to invest in the music business," he said.

"It is necessary to change this. In the long term I believe it will be very good for consumers and that the selection of music will be better."

But many here may not agree.

One, a music student, summed it all up perfectly.

"Where am I going to buy CDs? Not in expensive shops. I don't want to buy CDs there because I don't have that much money," he told me.

See also:

16 Jun 02 | Entertainment
18 Jul 02 | Europe
26 Feb 02 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes