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Don't reward free-riders by buying fake CDs for Christmas.

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Senator the Hon Richard Alston Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

The Hon Daryl Williams AM QC Attorney-General

Don't reward free-riders by buying fake CDs for Christmas

Consumers should be wary of counterfeit CDs this Christmas and in New Year sales, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, and the Attorney-General, Daryl Williams, said today.

While counterfeit CDs may seem like a bargain to shoppers caught up in the Christmas rush, buying fake CDs only rewards those taking a free ride on the efforts of hard-working musicians, composers and other people in the industry that created and produced the music on those CDs.

Counterfeit CDs short change the entire music industry, because buying a fake CD means your money goes to the counterfeiters rather than the artists, composers and industry that created and produced the music.

Senator Alston and Mr Williams outlined the fake CD warning signs that consumers should look out for, including:

● Low prices that are considerably less than what consumers would normally

expect to pay;

● No packaging or poor quality packaging-often with the record

producer's trade mark removed; and

● Blank-looking CDs (i.e. with no reference to the record company) inside

the packaging.

Counterfeit CDs may often be found at stalls and markets, so extra care should be taken when shopping at such outlets.

The Federal Government takes piracy very seriously. The Copyright Act provides serious penalties for the importation and sale of pirated goods.

These penalties range from up to $60,500 for individuals and $302,500 for companies and/or imprisonment for up to five years. In addition, the onus of proof is placed on the importer regarding the legitimacy of the imported products-rather than people who are the victims of piracy having to bear the onus of proof.

Australia has one of the lowest piracy rates in the world, which is a reflection of the Government's commitment to maintaining tough anti-piracy measures. Senator Alston and Mr Williams said consumers should support the Australian music industry and Australian musicians by not buying pirated CDs for Christmas or in New Year sales.

Contact: Simon Troeth-Senator Alston's office (02) 6277 7480 or (0439) 425 373 Carina Tan-van Baren-Mr Williams' office (02) 6277 7300 or (0419) 423 965

23 December 2002