Civil action weighed: Piracy victim in Denmark – ABBA LP. By Knud Orsted


An important piracy discovery involving tapes of ABBA’s album Voulez-Vous has been unearthed here, following investigations by the Nordisk Copyright Bureau.

The mechanical collection society found the cassettes on sale in several Danish stores, having emanated from the local rack-jobber Montax who, it is stressed, did not know the tapes were pirated productions. They bore the trade name Vogue, which normally provides tapes for the French market.

Montax is said to have bought 8,000 such cassettes from the German wholesale company, Falcon Schalplatten. Says a Montax spokesman: “We had no idea it was a pirated tape. The price was very close to the price we normally pay for full-price cassettes. We are shocked about the whole matter.”

Danish police were immediately involved but no charges were preferred because it seemed the importer was guilty of no known offense. However, the case has now been handed over to the German police authorities to see what can be found out about “international pirates” trying to break into the Danish market.

Say a NCB lawyer, Anne Langberg: “We had to send the tapes to France in order to ascertain that they really were pirate product. Vogue there immediately identified them as illegal.

“Now it is clear that piracy exists. The cassette has a special sound in the song I Have A Dream which could well be from damage to the original album from which it was copied. The inlay card is greyish, whereas the original is colored beige. The original has the mark ‘Made In France.’ But the pirates erred by printing ‘Made La France.’ ”

However, EMI Records here is not completely satisfied with no charges being preferred in Denmark and is considering starting a civil action against Montax. Kurt Hviid Mikkelsen, EMI managing director, says: “Montax bought the cassettes in Germany for 8.80 Deutsch Marks, or around $US4.40. It sell the cassettes to the shops for $US3.27, so the retail price, including tax, is $US5.45.

“Now our legal department is involved and in touch with ABBA manager, Stig Anderson, in Stockholm to see what the next step is. Basically we are more interested in a police action, because civil proceedings don’t have the same effect on importers of pirated tapes.

“But we certainly have to inform all dealers about the law and about the risks they are running in buying pirated tapes. They have to appreciate they must be very careful. 

Another Danish piracy case, involving a live concert by U.K. group Queen, is running in court here this Summer. The Queen “bootleg” was allegedly made in a Danish concert hall in 1977 and is out on the Stoned label. Some of the master tapes are said to have been recorded by the accused, but others are said to have been purchased by him from the Swedish State Radio, one involving a Roxy Music concert in Stockholm, January 1976.

NCB is prosecuting, with the police, in this case, staged in the town of Norrkoebing. Stoned Records is said to have produced six albums, of which three are double LPs. The engraving, pressing and cover print are all said to have been carried out professionally by Swedish firms. Transcribed for ABBA World

Billboard (USA) · 21 July 1979 (Page 67)

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