LONDON — The man who dreamed up Live Aid charged Thursday that unauthorized recordings of the charity concert are making millions of dollars for music pirates instead of benefiting the African famine-relief campaign.
Although the recording of the concert is not protected by copyright, promoter Bob Geldof charged that it was being illegally reproduced by pirates, who he says are taking money that rightfully belongs to Live Aid and the starving people for whom the concert was held.
"The money the bootleggers make is preventing people living. Those people who prevent people living are called murderers. When you buy this (unauthorized recording), you kill someone else," Geldof said.
"What these people are putting in their pockets quite literally is food and water and transport and shelter and medicine," the Irish rock star told a news conference launching a campaign against copyright pirates.
The campaign is being run by the International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers, representing 650 record companies in nearly 70 countries.
"The Band Aid and Live Aid bootlegs have sold 4.5 million copies so far in the last year, and that means $3 million to $5 million stolen from the Band Aid Trust," federation spokesman James Wolsey said.
On a worldwide basis, the recording industry is losing about $1.2 billion a year to music pirates, he said.
The July 13 Live Aid concert in London raised about $60 million for the British Band Aid Trust, while the concert in Philadelphia brought $25 million into the Live Aid Foundation in the United States.
No copyright recording of the concert was made because of complicated legal problems, Geldof said. Organizers now are negotiating to make a film of the mammoth event.
The federation said in a statement that it has discovered six unauthorized versions of the concert, all highly professional cassettes and records made in Indonesia. They are on sale in the Middle East and parts of Europe, the federation said.
The 1984 Band Aid charity recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas," made by British rock stars, also has been copied, as has "We Are the World," the charity recording by American artists.
Geldof said he would do whatever is necessary to stop the pirate recordings of Live Aid.
Geldof urged consumers to seize the unauthorized copies "and certainly if I see one, I'd throw a petrol bomb" at it.