Fact Sheets

Australian Customs Service

What are the different types of illegitimate music discs?

There are three types of illegitimate music discs:

  • Simple illegitimate discs - where the packaging of the illegitimate CD is different from the original version eg. "greatest hits" compilations of a specific artist, or a collection of a specific genre, such as dance tracks;
  • Counterfeits - the packaging of the illegitiamte CD resembles the original as closely as possible. The record companies' trade marks are reproduced in order to mislead the consumer into believing that they are buying an original product; and
  • Bootlegs - these are unauthorised recordings of live or broadcast performances.


How do I spot and illegitimate CD?

Illegitimate CDs may contain any one or all of the indicators:

  1. The Source Identification (SID) Codes are missing or obliterated - genuine discs usually have SID Codes (a four character code that identifies the source of music and manufacture) imprinted on the inner rim of the disc.  This is usually in the form of “IFPI 123A”.
  2. Look carefully at the item to ascertain whether CD covers are photocopied or distorted in any way.  Spelling errors, poor quality paper or image/colour distortion on the covers of CDs may indicate that the product is not legitimate.    
  3. Be suspicious about live performance CDs - many of these are unauthorised “bootleg” copies.
  4. There are incomplete, incorrect or no record company logos or licensing/trade mark details.
  5. An excessive number of tracks on a CD can be an indication that it is an illegitimate product, particularly for karaoke and ring tones.
  6. No plastic ‘jewel’ case or they are packed separately from the CDs and inlay cards.
  7. The CD is a CD-R, that is a recordable compact disc, as indicated by the blue/ purple colour on the reverse side of the CD rather than the silver colour of legitimate discs released by record companies, and often a CD-R number is imprinted on the inner rim of the disc.

What do I do if I come across illegitimate music discs?

A number of major record companies and the music publishers through their association, the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society Limited (AMCOS) have Notices of Objection lodged with the ACS. 

If you come across music you suspect is illegitimate, you should:

  1. Initially contact the IP Rights section in the ACS Central Office. 
  2. If additional information is required contact Music Rights Australia at info@musicrights.com.au to confirm that the music is illegitimate. This can be as easy as sending an email with scanned photos of a selection of the CDs.  Music Rights Australia will respond within 24 hours;
  3. Once it is confirmed that the music is illegitimate, proceed to issue a Notification of Seizure under the AMCOS Notice of Objection which covers the majority of musical works commercially released in Australia and overseas.  The Schedule should read: “INSERT NUMBER (#) compact discs incorporating musical works infringing the copyright controlled by the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society Limited.”


Need more information?

Music Rights Australia www.musicrights.com.au info@musicrights.com.au (02) 8569 1177

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