International trade body the IFPI reports that the owner of a Russia-based Web site faces criminal proceedings for allegedly offering CDs of pirated music for sale. The owner of the site, russian-cds.

LONDON -- International trade body the IFPI reports that the owner of a Russia-based Web site faces criminal proceedings for allegedly offering CDs of pirated music for sale.

The owner of the site, russian-cds.com, is subject to a criminal procedure for contravention of Section 2 of Article 146 of Russia's Penal Code.

Following an initial investigation by anti-piracy officials from the IFPI's regional office in Moscow, officers from the Russian Federation's Ministry of Interior monitored the site, which is believed to be operating from a city in a remote part of eastern Russia.

After making an initial test purchase, investigators bought 176 discs from the site in March 2004; the IFPI and police established that all the discs appeared to be counterfeit. CDs by international artists such as Britney Spears, Robbie Williams, Sting, Texas and Yanni were among the items purchased.

The IFPI says it believes the site had been distributing discs to the United Kingdom, United States, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Korea, Canada and other countries.

The case was presented by an officer from Russia's Ministry of Interior High-Tech Crime Department to a local prosecutor, who began criminal proceedings June 4.

The same day, searches by police at two locations believed to be associated with the Web site revealed up to 3,000 optical discs, CD inlays, two computers belonging to a charged individual and about 300 money-order receipts. A subsequent raid on two warehouses in Izhevsk revealed 14,000 pirate discs and DVDs with music and computer games. Investigations are continuing.

Jay Berman, chairman of the IFPI, comments: "This action against one of the many Russian Web sites offering allegedly infringing product for sale is encouraging and to be applauded. We urge the authorities to maintain the pressure on those who seek to profit from the creativity of international stars, as well as holding back the development of Russia's own domestic music talent."