U.S. Music Industry Group Says 25% of CDs on Amazon are Counterfeit

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said in a report that 25% of the CDs sold by Amazon, as well as by eBay and AliExpress, “are knock-offs.”

RIAA’s annual counterfeit study said that “16% of the CDs bought from eBay” and 11% of the CDs “bought from Amazon proper” were counterfeit, and that every CD boxset the researchers ordered from eBay and AliExpress was fake.

The RIAA says counterfeiting of CDs is getting worse. In previous studies the RIAA reported “a 23% counterfeit rate” on Amazon, after which Amazon “implemented several changes—then, during our second counterfeit study in January 2017, their counterfeit rate for test purchases dropped to 2%.”

“Unfortunately,” the RIAA says, “Amazon [has] changed practices again and the counterfeit rate for test purchases in our most recent survey has climbed significantly.”

Amazon said in response that the company “strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products and we invest heavily in both funds and company energy to ensure our policy is followed—we investigate any claim of counterfeit thoroughly, including removing the item, permanently removing the bad actor, pursuing legal action or working with law enforcement as appropriate.”

The RIAA has conducted two studies this year, “to identify counterfeit offerings of music CDs on popular online platforms, including a study on the prevalence of high quality counterfeit box sets.”

Researchers made “test buys” of a broad sample of “current and evergreen” albums from major U.S. record labels. The study also warned that fake “best of” or “greatest hits” CDs is a major issue, even where the label or artist had “never released such an album.”

Edited from Forbes