IFPI welcomes bill to curb piracy.

The international recording industry has applauded the Ukraine's adoption today (July 6) of a long-awaited CD plant law. The new legislation is seen as a significant move in the battle against the nation's rampant piracy problems.

The former Eastern Bloc country has passed what is described as a "landmark" bill of amendments to law on optical discs, following sustained pressure from the recording industry. Today's action brings the country's law to levels accepted by the industry.

"We warmly welcome today's decision by the Ukrainian parliament to reinforce the CD Plant Law and tackle the country's piracy epidemic," says IFPI chairman/CEO John Kennedy. "The massive scale of piracy in Ukraine has seriously deterred international investment in this country's copyright sector."

Stefan Krawczyk, IFPI deputy regional director for Europe, was in Ukraine in May and met with President Yuschenko to urge him to pass the law. "The passing of the bill today shows that President Yuschenko and his administration are serious about eradicating piracy and supporting the growth of a legitimate industry," says Krawczyk.

Ukraine's law on optical discs was first adopted in 2002 as part of the U.S.-Ukraine joint action plan on intellectual property enforcement. However, the law was widely criticized by the IFPI at the time for being "totally ineffective."

U.S. trade sanctions have since been imposed against the market. Until recently, the U.S. Trade Representative had pegged Ukraine as the worst offender in its annual review of countries that fail to uphold intellectual-property protections mandated by the World Trade Organization. "This law and its enforcement are likely to have a positive impact on Ukraine's WTO accession bid," notes Kennedy,

Ukraine's CD manufacturing facilities have total estimated annual capacity of roughly 50 million discs, about three times its legitimate demand, according to the IFPI. The country was cited in the industry body's latest Commercial Piracy Report as a top ten priority country.