Pirated CDs Earning Tourists a Jail Sentence

First it was plane spotting, then it was playing with a GameBoy on the beach – now there’s something else unwary tourists can get thrown into jail for in Greece: buying pirated CDs.

A tourist was arrested last week as he bought two counterfeit CDs from a vendor in Athens, and to give everyone a reminder that such activities are illegal, he earned himself a three month sentence. It’s not recorded what happened to the guy who sold him the CDs, though Greek courts have prosecuted about 1000 illegal sellers in the past.

IFPI spokesman Ion Stamboulis said in a statement: “This is not a symbolic measure. We are determined to prosecute the buyers and we have the support of the authorities.”

Clamping down on the vendors has proven problematic in the past as they have fairly hefty underworld connections, so perhaps the authorities are looking for an easier way to tackle the issue.

The surge in prosecutions is no doubt aimed that trying to fix Greece’s terrible piracy record (the worst in Western Europe) before the start of the 2004 Olympics.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?