Global sales of pirated CDs shot up almost 50% to an all-time high of 950 million units in 2001, according to a new report.
A report by the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that commercial sales of pirate CDs tripled last year to 450 million units.
The organisation says the total world music pirate market was worth an estimated US$4.3bn (£2.9bn), a slight increase on the previous year.
The report blames the rise on organised copying of music onto recordable CDs. It estimates1.9 billion pirate recordings were sold in 2001.
Illegal music sales now outnumber legal sales in 25 countries with the problem worst in China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.
Global sales of legitimate music compact discs fell in 2001, with many industry experts blaming illegal copying.
Jay Berman, IFPI chairman and chief executive, said in a statement: “Piracy is sometimes and mistakenly called a ‘victimless crime’.
“It is not. The economic losses due to piracy are enormous and they are felt throughout the music value chain. Piracy also nurtures organised crime across the world, and it stunts investment, growth and jobs.”
The chairman called on governments across the world to crack down on copyright theft with tougher laws.
Rick Dobbis, president of Sony Music International, warned that piracy hit local economies particularly hard, especially local music stores and CD plant workers.