LONDON — The first instances of the parallel importing of Compact Discs reported to the British Phonographic Industry involve albums by Elvis Costello. Quantities of both Armed Forces and Elvis The Man are said to have been brought into the U.K. two weeks ahead of Demon Records' scheduled release.
The industry here has widely anticipated that the worldwide manufacturing shortfall in CD production would tempt importers to bring in unlicensed product.
Patrick Isherwood, BPI's legal representative, says: "This certainly is the first time we've heard of the parallel importing of CDs." The BPI suggests that record companies discovering the practice should first approach the importer and then be prepared to make the trade aware of the illicit product.
"A dealer found with such product," Isherwood adds, "could be sued for damages."
And IFPI's antipiracy coordinator Peter Crockford comments that in the U.S., parallel imports are regarded as practically piracy.
Demon Records executive Pete Macklin says: "The investment in CDs for a smaller independent like us is so high that we have to sell every one we have made. These imported CDs are being bought by dedicated Elvis Costello fans, and every one sold is one less sale for us."
The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) has now put import bands on virtually all CD versions of albums by Costello — who has said that, from now on, he will perform and write under his real name, Declan Patrick MacManus. Included are My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy, Trust, and Imperial Bedroom. His latest album is King Of America, also available on CD.