Less than a day after the worldwide Live 8 shows, bootleg DVDs of the concerts were already being offered on eBay. By Tuesday (July 5), the auction company had begun removing the illegal discs from the site following complaints from the British Phonographic Industry, according to a Reuters report.
“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. A spokesman for Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof said called the people who posted the sales “cretins and scum.”
The auction site had already run afoul of Geldof before the shows, when he labeled eBay an “electronic pimp” after users offered tickets to the free London show for sale for hundreds of dollars (see “Live 8 Auctions Pulled After Geldof Urges eBay Protest” ).
The discs, some of which appeared on the site within 24 hours of the end of Saturday’s 10 free concerts, drew bids of up to $31 each and featured footage from both the Philadelphia and London shows, according to Reuters. Especially angered by the sales was record company EMI, which paid millions for the rights to release the official event DVD.
“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. “Sadly we are not at all surprised by this incident.”
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A number of the major acts who performed at the shows have seen their album sales spike in England in the days following the event. According to one of Britain’s main music retailers, HMV, the sales of Pink Floyd’s album Echoes shot up 1,343 percent on Sunday compared to the week before. The group, which re-formed with bass player Roger Waters for the event (see “Jay-Z, U2, Madonna, Pink Floyd Deliver Live 8 Highlights” ), has agreed to give all profits from sales in the wake of Live 8 over to charity and have encouraged other artists and record labels to do the same.
“Though the main objective has been to raise consciousness and put pressure on the G8 leaders, I will not profit from the concert,” guitarist David Gilmour said. “If other artists feel like donating their extra royalties to charity, perhaps then the record companies could be persuaded to make a similar gesture and that would be a bonus. This is money that should be used to save lives.” Though the spike was partly accounted for by the previous week’s low numbers, an HMV spokesperson told Reuters that the sales of nearly 1,000 copies of Echoes was still impressive.
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Other albums that had robust bumps included the Who’s Then & Now (up 863 percent), the Annie Lennox-fronted Eurythmics Greatest Hits (500 percent) and Dido’s Life For Rent (412 percent). Coldplay notched one of the smallest sales increases of the London acts (3%), but still sold the most records with more than 2,800 copies.
Another brisk seller was the London show’s opening number, the collaboration between U2 and Paul McCartney on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The song was released to legal download services within minutes of its performance and quickly hit #1 on the iTunes charts in Britain, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium, according to a report by The Associated Press. The proceeds from the sales will benefit Live 8.
On Monday, the London show’s finale — an all-star sing-along to “Hey Jude” led by McCartney — was also offered for download. No sales figures were available at press time.
Get involved: Learn about the poverty crisis in Africa, the proposed solutions, and how you can help. Plus find all of our coverage of the international Live 8 concerts and more at our thinkMTV Live 8 hub.