In God RIAA We Trust: Califormia Moves To Do Away With Need For Warrants In Seizing Pirated Music or Discs

We have watched as lobbyists for RIAA and other companies have steadily increased trademark and copyright limitations, including new criminal penalties. Now, State. Sen. Alex Padilla (D., Los Angeles), has sponsored RIAA legislation in California that would allow law enforcement to enter optical-disc plants and seize disc-stamping equipment, and pirated movie and music discs without a court warrant.

Padilla agrees with RIAA that the pesky warrant clause is just an inconvenience when it comes to protecting the property interests of these companies. He is advancing legislation demanded by the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. The legislation would also allow for fines of up to $250,000. The legislation, which is up for a vote in another Senate committee next week, comes as the federal government is also cracking down on pirated goods.

On both the state and federal levels, politicians are yielding to sweeping demands from RIAA and other groups to add draconian penalties and reduce protections for accused citizens. They continue this trend despite widespread criticism over abusive lawsuits and demands by the industry.

These industry groups routinely hire legislators and staff for lucrative positions after they have worked on such legislation. Recently, there was a controversy over a RIAA lawyer who was put on the federal bench and then ruled in favor of the industry in some of these controversial lawsuits.

They include Dan Glickman, a former member of Congress and head of MPAA, who earns $1,280,000 plus another $32,800 in other benefits and allowances. I like Glickman (who is a GW graduate) but these groups hold out the promise of great opportunities for both staff and members as well as huge campaign contribution funds.

Now it appears that even the fourth amendment is considered a minor matter in the rush to advance these interests. I am sympathetic to the needs of the industry to stop pirating. Such pirating hurts the economy as well as the legitimate property interests of this industry. However, I am increasingly concerned over the lack of balance in this debate and lack of scrutiny given these new sweeping laws.

Source: Wired

21 thoughts on “In God RIAA We Trust: Califormia Moves To Do Away With Need For Warrants In Seizing Pirated Music or Discs

  1. If the RIAA thinks the problem with the music industry is piracy, they’re mistaken. The crap that’s put out today isn’t worth stealing. What we need is more stereo oldies. :)

  2. Nal, truer words were never spoken. There has been very little worth listening to since John Lennon died. Can you imagine some middle aged people a few decades from now waxing nostalgic over the incoherent doggerel of rap?

  3. I think it is time we held a giant bonfire. We can use the actual copies of the constitution as fire starters and burn all the reproductions and any books containing the constitution.

    It would be better if future generations never knew what their ancestors had and pissed away for a handful of silver.

  4. Did you know that California is the only state that has a published on-line list of people who are prohibited from using state courts?

    Also, I was imprisoned for 124 days by the feds without a warrant at the request of private parties for private benefit. They said I didn’t have a right to a lawyer nor a right to an evidentiary hearing. There was no government prosecutor, no arraignment, and no bail hearing.

  5. Any business model that requires a business to sue its customers to remain profitable is doomed to fail. Disc stamping plants are so 1990s anyway. This is not how piracy is conducted in 2011.

  6. I do not think that this business is “Heavily Regulated” enough to withstand even a rational basis test…..wtf were they thinking…standard….

  7. Considering . . .

    1) Artists don’t make money from CD sales. They make money from touring. Ask anyone who is a professional musician.

    2) Every article I’ve ever seen not funded by the RIAA shows that piracy is good for business. The record companies are in the packaging business. If a band gets true money spending fans and the packaging is nice enough, people will buy the product. We are, after all, a species easily distracted by shiny objects. Similar trends are seen in the area of software piracy as well.

    3) The music industry did this to themselves by promising to lower the retail price on CD’s back in the early 90’s and then failing to do so. Once CD-R’s became prevalent and people realized how cheap they are to make? Well the rest of that joke writes itself in egg yolk yellow all over the venal faces of record company executives. Record companies are middle men in a business where technology is rapidly making middle men not only irrelevant, but counterproductive to the best interests of the artists. You know, the artists. The people who actually make something of value.

    4) Although copyright laws do need some critical reforms, putting the government in the business of copyright enforcement isn’t one of them. Putting government in the role of copyright enforcement is simply more corporate welfare – a subsidy for work copyright holders have been traditionally been held responsible for as part of the exchange they get for exclusivity.

    5) Did I mention that further attacking the 4th Amendment – in the name of venal profits no less – is an Anti-American abomination and the kind of abuse that puts us all on a slippery slope to Hell? All so some record company executive – who has never produced anything of value and is riding on the talents of others – can afford his corporate jet and expense account.

    This is a corporate dodge and another corporatist assault on your civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution.

    Quit supporting record company executives.

    You like a band?

    Go see them.

    Buy a t-shirt.

    It’s a) more fun and b) directly benefits the makers of music, not some parasitic leech in a suit.

  8. A day late, a dollar short … that’s the music industry They don’t even know how to buy good legislation.

  9. The majority of piracy in the music, software and movie industry is done in China, Russia, Thailand and elsewhere and always has been; 80% of the total. RIIA and MPAA knows that. They are picking the low hanging fruit and using the government, including the department of Homeland Security to do it. The response to this issue by the government is so totally out of proportion to the (domestic) magnitude of the problem that it begs the question “Why?”. I think that the government has its own agenda regarding taking every, every, opportunity to weaken the protections of the Constitution. This is just part of ‘detail work’ needed to convert a Constitutional Republic to a totalitarian state. But that’s just me.

    http://www.archive.org/stream/MpaaPiracyReort/LeksummarympaRevised_djvu.txt

    Piracy rates* are highest in China (90 percent), Russia (79 percent) and
    Thailand (79 percent).

    http://www.globalnews.ca/world/Canada+lumped+with+China+Russia+online+piracy/301438/story.html

    WASHINGTON — Canada has joined China and Russia on the U.S. software, music and movie industries’ annual list of countries with the worst record of fighting piracy of copyright goods, an industry coalition said on Monday.

    “While there has been a few positive developments in these key markets over the year, the bottom line is that piracy levels have not come down at all or only marginally, and in some countries the situation has grown worse,” Eric Smith, president of the International Intellectual Property Alliance, said in a statement.”

  10. ekeyra – one would think that such a significant pro-police state ruling would be a lead topic of discussion on blogs like this.

    Why even have the debate? After all, the court was virtually unanimous in condoning this power for warrantless police entry anytime an officer walks by a home and determines that some sign of life was suspicious. This new power will surely never be abused, nor will we find political enemies of law enforcement targeted with this new authority.

    Commentary on the ruling here:

    http://www.cato.org/multimedia/embed/5004

  11. “One would think that such a significant pro-police state ruling would be a lead topic of discussion on blogs like this.”

    “This new power will surely never be abused, nor will we find political enemies of law enforcement targeted with this new authority.”
    -puzzling

    I’ve heard little discussion here about the Patriot Act either… and political (and other enemies) of law enforcement are already being targeted…

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/fbi/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/05/21/patriot_act_extended

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Four more years! (Of the Patriot Act …)

    By Justin Elliott

    “On Thursday, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders agreed to a deal to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act for four years, a significant decision that generated little press attention or sustained political debate.”

  12. anon nurse,

    The vote on the Patriot Act is on the 27th although an agreement has been made. For what it’s worth, I put a note on the corrections page about it in hope either the Prof or one of the GB’s would pick up the topic.

  13. Buddha,

    I should have been clear in my comment…, but it’s all but certain to pass, it would seem… Thanks for your nudge on the corrections page — I know that you’re one of the good guys. ;-)

    from Justin Elliott’s article:

    Obviously the Patriot Act is largely being used in secret. But have cases emerged that show how these expanded powers have been used in potentially troubling ways?

    Part of the problem is that we don’t know a whole lot about how any of these provisions have been used. Russ Feingold said back in 2009 during the previous reauthorization debate that he believed there had been abuses of Section 215 in connection with a sensitive collection program. We don’t know what that collection program is. We don’t know the nature of whatever Sen. Feingold regarded as an abuse. We know that he was on the intelligence committee and that he thinks there have been abuses, but that’s as far is it goes. (end excerpt)

    Russ Feingold was right.

  14. Why do copyrights keep getting extended? Why is a copyright so long, and a patent so short? Copyright should be for shorter periods for the same reason patents are of modest term.

  15. Who benefits from such a “law”? The wealthy corporations.

    Who is hurt by the law? The taxpayers who pay for the “enforcement”, along with the producers of LEGAL independent works but who can’t afford the cost of “marking” their disks.

    This “law” isn’t intended to “protect copyrighted works”, it’s intended to harass independent recording labels and small film makers. The method of “enforcement” bears a strong resemblence to the planned murders of homeowners by police using “no knock warrants” and seizure laws to increase revenue for police departments.

    The intent behind the “law” is to stop small companies from producing works, or just as likely, weaken them to make them easier to acquire at bargain basement prices. Like all large multinational corporations, they hate capitalism and hate a free market.

    If the record companies and movie studios REALLY wanted to reduce piracy, they’d pay attention to voodoo economics: lower their overinflated prices and people will pay for legal copies. Piracy of recorded media exists because the large corporations are themselves all thieves.

  16. Tennessee lawmakers in Nashville, which is country music’s capital, have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend’s login — even with permission — to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody.

    The bill, which has been signed by the governor, was pushed by recording industry officials to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars to illegal music sharing. They hope other states will follow.

    The implications of this latest heavy-handed effort of the entertainment industry are staggering. They forget the Law of Unintended Consequences. And Murphy’s Law as well.

    http://www.starhq.com/news/html/news/AP/articles.asp?day=Friday&article=tennesseeentertainmentbill.html

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