May 09, 2001
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy

RIAA to Music Pirates: Prepare to be Boarded


RIAA Yearend 2000 Anti-Piracy Statistics Show Significant Increase in Illicit CD-R Seizures, Arrests and Indictments


Washington, DC – The yearend 2000 Anti-Piracy figures released today by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) revealed a significant increase in the number of online pirate sites the organization addressed as well as a marked increase in illicit CD-R seizures. The report further indicated that the trade group’s targeting of anti-piracy resources have resulted in a notable rise in piracy arrests and indictments.

“This past year we have taken significant strides in our war against illicit CD-R piracy,” said Frank Creighton, RIAA Senior Vice President and Director of Anti-Piracy. “While offenders are increasingly turning to the digital space to further their illegal operations, many are finding that we are already there and well prepared to deal with them.”

Commercial Internet Pirate Sites

The RIAA’s Internet Enforcement team has identified and removed an increasing number of music sites illegally offering copyrighted material through various commercial Internet service providers. The number of commercial sites in the U.S. generating Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices rose 408% over last year.

There was also a tremendous increase in the number of notices sent to link sites facilitating the downloading of unauthorized files in 2000, rising to 2,560 by the end of the year. Further, illegal online auctions removed from the web increased by 853% compared to figures released in 1999.

“These numbers speak well of the resources we have dedicated to the Internet. Unfortunately, they are also indicative of the many ways that people are misusing technology to pirate music,” added Creighton. “These trends are troubling, but not insurmountable.”

Counterfeit CD Seizures Soar

Counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs seized in 2000 increased by 79% over the figures released this time last year, resulting in an unprecedented 1,669,394 counterfeit/pirate CD-Rs seized.

“Operation Clean Streets,” put into action in April 2000 to address the distribution of unauthorized sound recordings on the streets of New York City, has resulted in 1,035 arrests over an eight-month period, primarily at the retail level. This is compared to 316 arrests at the retail level, in this region, for all of last year. The 1,035 arrests resulted in the confiscation of approximately 600,000 unauthorized CD-Rs.

According to Creighton, “while there is still much work to be done, we expect the recently added resources to continue to produce impressive results in the coming year.”

In coordination with a renewed focus on retail piracy across the Nation, efforts at the manufacturing level did not suffer, with 633 CD-R burners confiscated during the year. A conservative estimate of the collective manufacturing capacity of these factories would be approximately 9.5 million CD-Rs in one year, representing a potential economic loss to our industry of close to 150 million dollars.

Bogus CD Shipment Orders Plummet

With continued collaborative efforts on the part of the recording industry and the Optical Disc replication industry, CD plant manufacturers around the country continue to utilize RIAA’s recommended good business practices to reduce the amount of unauthorized discs hitting the marketplace. This year the amount of unauthorized CDs confiscated dropped to 90,027 from 182,023 in 1999, a nearly 50% reduction over last year’s figures.

“The preventive measures that have been put into place by optical disc replicators to include the adoption of RIAA’s recommended business practices, substantially contributes to the decline in illicit orders brought to our attention,” notes Creighton.

Supporting The Soundbyting Campaign

The original Soundbyting Campaign started in 1998 with 10 schools participating in the pilot program. Approximately 350 schools now participate in the Soundbyting program. The RIAA's SOUNDBYTING Campaign, which includes a kit for university and college administrators as well as a web site, provides the core materials to serve as a framework for discussion of music and the Internet. Its purpose is to raise awareness that reproducing and distributing music illegally is akin to stealing, and such actions have serious ethical and legal consequences. This program has recently been expanded to the high school and graduate levels.

The RIAA continues to outline what is allowable and to provide informative material about copyright law through its university and college materials and on the SOUNDBYTING website (

Civil Litigation Activities

Due to advances in Internet technology, the civil litigation team has been faced with establishing new legal precedents. These suits were initiated for various types of illegal conduct, including precedent setting cases involving the unauthorized creation of commercial music databases ( and the deliberate aggregation of links to illegal music downloads (

A summary judgment against was entered in favor of the plaintiffs in the case on April 28, 2000, and settlements have now been negotiated with all of the original plaintiffs. The case against is currently entering the trial phase.

The legitimate online music marketplace was also advanced in 2000 as a result of legal victories in the high-profile Napster case. Following last year’s legal efforts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed with a federal district court that Napster is liable for contributory and vicarious infringement of copyrighted material. On March 6, 2001 Federal District Court Judge Marilyn H. Patel issued a modified preliminary injunction in the case requiring Napster to remove Plaintiff’s works from its system. These efforts have not only sent a clear message that online piracy will not be tolerated, but have also created the legal framework from which we can ensure that a legitimate market for online music will continue to flourish.

Finally, suits were filed against two companies involved in the manufacturing or causing the manufacture of hundreds of infringing titles. The first Media Group, a California-based CD replication facility is ongoing, while one against Halland, a California-based CD compilation company has settled.

The RIAA is a trade association whose members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States. The Anti-Piracy division of the RIAA investigates the illegal production and distribution of sound recordings that cost the music industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year domestically. Consumers, retailers and replicators can report suspected music piracy to the RIAA by dialing a toll-free hotline, 1.800.BAD.BEAT, or sending email to or


The Recording Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States. In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conducts consumer, industry and technical research; and monitors and reviews state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond sales awards, as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.