Seizures of pirated entertainment drop 78%

EC says 75% of bootlegs in 2007 from China

BRUSSELS -- Seizures of fake DVDs and CDs fell by 78% last year, the European Commission said Monday, but Internet-based piracy of movies and music surged.

The EU's national customs services last year seized 3.3 million units of DVDs, CDs and cassettes, including computer software and games. This represented 4.2% of all the counterfeit items caught by customs, down from 9.2% the previous year.

A stunning 75% of the seized music, movies and software came from China, though this was down from 93% the previous year. EU member Poland came in second with 3.3%, followed by Hong Kong with 3.2%, UAE with 2.65% and Italy with 2.1%.

However, officials warned that this did not mean piracy had become less of an issue. Overall seizures of counterfeit goods rose 17% last year. But as digital products, movies, music and software can be copied onto the Internet, officials had no doubts that pirates have switched to an online environment, even if they have no figures for pirate downloads. "Counterfeiting continues to pose danger to our economy," EU taxation commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said.