Sofia, 6 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - The music industry's anti-piracy watchdog has asked the European Commission to urge Bulgaria to stop producing illegal copies of compact music discs.
A statement today by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) says exports of Bulgarian pirate CDs to Western and Eastern Europe are costing the industry more than $100 million a year.
The IFPI is demanding action from the government before a March 17 visit to Sofia by EU External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek.
An investigation by RFE/RL found that both state and private factories in Bulgaria are counterfeiting Western CDs without paying royalties to the artists. One of the largest pirate producers, the state-owned DZU factory at Stara Zagora, was a military computer research center during the Soviet era.
The IFPI recently opened an office in Sofia. It says 83 cases of pirate audio and video producers have been sent by Bulgarian police to the prosecutor's office but there have been no convictions.