July 5, 2005

Pirated Live 8 DVDs on eBay, industry protests

LONDON -- Internet auction site eBay said on Tuesday it had begun removing illegal DVD copies of the Live 8 poverty awareness pop concerts from its Web site, after the record industry complained.

Some of the pirate recordings on the site early on Tuesday were on sale within 24 hours of Saturday's concerts ending, and have been attracting bids of up to 16.99 pounds ($31) each.

One of them boasts footage from huge concerts in London'sHyde Park and Philadelphia.

Ten concerts took place in all, from Tokyo in the east tonear Toronto in the west, and more than a million people turned up to see the greatest line-up of rock stars ever assembled.

While the concerts were free, British media said recordcompany EMI paid millions of pounds for the rights to releasethe official DVD of the event, which Bob Geldof organized to put pressure on world leaders to do more to beat poverty.

"There are too many people out there who believe music isfor stealing, regardless of the wishes of artists and thepeople who invest in them," said David Martin, director ofanti-piracy at the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

"Sadly we are not at all surprised by this incident."

EBay said it had begun removing the listings.

"The unauthorized copies of Live 8 DVDs we have been told about have been taken down, because the sale of fake items is not permitted on eBay.co.uk," the site said in a statement.

EBay has already been labeled an "electronic pimp" byGeldof after free Live 8 tickets appeared on the site ahead of Saturday's concerts.

It suspended some of the accounts of users who placed hoaxbids for the tickets of up to 10 million pounds in order tosabotage the sales.

Geldof also organized the Live Aid charity gigs 20 years ago to raise money for Ethiopian famine victims, and broughtout a re-recording of the 1984 "Do They Know It's Christmas?"track to try to prevent bootleggers profiting from theoriginal.

The BPI urged eBay to toughen its safeguards againstpiracy, noting a dramatic rise in illegal sales.

In 2001, the BPI arranged for the removal of 2,315 illegalonline auctions, but in the first six months of this year thatnumber had risen to 13,280.