Pirated Live 8 DVDs on eBay, Industry Protests

Internet auction site eBay said on Tuesday it had begun removing illegal DVD copies of the Live 8 poverty awareness pop concerts from its Web site, after the record industry complained.

Some of the pirate recordings on the site early on Tuesday were on sale within 24 hours of Saturday's concerts ending, and have been attracting bids of up to 16.99 pounds ($31) each.

One of them boasts footage from huge concerts in London's Hyde Park and Philadelphia.

Ten concerts took place in all, from Tokyo in the east to near Toronto in the west, and more than a million people turned up to see the greatest line-up of rock stars ever assembled.

While the concerts were free, British media said record company EMI (EMI.L) paid millions of pounds for the rights to release the official DVD of the event, which Bob Geldof organized to put pressure on world leaders to do more to beat poverty.

"There are too many people out there who believe music is for stealing, regardless of the wishes of artists and the people who invest in them," said David Martin, director of anti-piracy at the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

"Sadly we are not at all surprised by this incident."

EBay said it had begun removing the listings.

"The unauthorized copies of Live 8 DVDs we have been told about have been taken down, because the sale of fake items is not permitted on eBay.co.uk," the site said in a statement.

EBay has already been labeled an "electronic pimp" by Geldof after free Live 8 tickets appeared on the site ahead of Saturday's concerts.

It suspended some of the accounts of users who placed hoax bids for the tickets of up to 10 million pounds in order to sabotage the sales.

Geldof also organized the Live Aid charity gigs 20 years ago to raise money for Ethiopian famine victims, and brought out a re-recording of the 1984 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" track to try to prevent bootleggers profiting from the original.

The BPI urged eBay to toughen its safeguards against piracy, noting a dramatic rise in illegal sales.

In 2001, the BPI arranged for the removal of 2,315 illegal online auctions, but in the first six months of this year that number had risen to 13,280.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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