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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Bolton tops 'pirate CD league'
CD piracy graphic
The town of Bolton is fast becoming the centre for pirate music production in the UK, according to an industry watchdog.

Computer equipment capable of producing millions of CDs has been seized in the town in recent weeks, says the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS).

Trading standards officers believe counterfeiting is so widespread because operators who once used the area's cotton mills to make pirate clothing have switched to unofficial music products instead.

Bolton appears to have become the hotspot after moves to close down the high number of counterfeit operations in Preston in 2000.


The only ones who benefit are the counterfeiters, who aren't exactly renowned for their legitimate talents

Nick Kounoupias, MCPS
Nick Kounoupias, head of the MCPS Anti-Piracy Unit, said there is a "very worrying trend" of illegal music production in the Lancashire area.

"Lancashire is flooded with illegally copied music and also film and computer games - it's far worse than in other parts of the country," he said.

The news comes after trading standards teams working in co-operation with Greater Manchester Police raided five addresses in Bolton.

Nine people have been questioned about counterfeiting activities and, if charged and convicted, could face up to 10 years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Bolton town centre
Counterfeiting grew up with the cotton mills
Mr Kounoupias said: "MCPS members - the songwriters who create the songs - receive no payment when their work is pirated.

"Contrary to popular belief, most of them aren't wealthy and they won't be able to sustain a career that doesn't reward them.

"It is ironic they should be ripped off because their work is desirable and the only ones who then benefit are the counterfeiters, who aren't exactly renowned for their legitimate talents."

Darrell Wilson, Bolton's principal trading standards officer, said his teams are uncovering counterfeits of any products.

Millions lost

He said: "You name it we've found it - it is basically what ever is in vogue - illegal England football team merchandise is very popular at the moment," he said.

"It is probably worse in Bolton, and towns like Preston and Blackburn, because of the clothing side of counterfeiting, which was going on here when the clothing mills were operating."

The UK's counterfeiting operations are believed to cost industry up to 9bn a year in lost revenue.

According to the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy the Government lost 1.5bn in taxes during 2000.


Click here to go to Manchester

Click here to go to Lancashire
See also:

27 May 02 | Science/Nature
05 Apr 02 | Entertainment
10 May 01 | Entertainment
01 May 01 | Science/Nature
22 Jan 01 | Entertainment
17 Jan 01 | Science/Nature
25 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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