Pirate booty: 1 billion compact discs

Tuesday, 15 July 2003, 6:48 AM EST

In 2002 the sale of pirated CD copies rose 14 percent to 1.1 billion units from the previous year and has more than doubled in the past three years, turning a street-corner trade into an estimated $4.6 billion business, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said in its annual piracy report.

At $4.6 billion, the global market for pirated music now ranks as the third biggest in the industry behind the legal music markets in the United States and Japan.

While the new figures track unauthorized CD sales, it does not take into account the economic toll of online file-sharing, an activity difficult to measure.

The music industry blames the proliferation of CD-copying and online file-sharing networks for contributing to a three-year decline in recorded music sales, a slump some predict could last a few more years.

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