GrayZone – Quarterly Digest – January-March 2000

First Quarter Busts | Legal Highlights

First Quarter Busts

Indy Music ShopBusted in Michigan

Following a three-month police investigation, Off The Record, a popular independent music store in Royal Oak, Michigan was closed while police collected hundreds of suspected bootleg and pirated music cassettes, videotapes and compact discs. The investigation was launched when a customer tipped off the RIAA.

Detroit Free Press. December 16, 1999 (Brian Ballou)

UK Crackdown on Russian Pirate CD Imports

On January 27, Police in London struck a major blow against organized crime. With the help of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), who had tracked the CD pirate trade routes between the UK and Russia, police arrested six Russians and seized thousands of CDs, as well as false credit cards and counterfeiting equipment. Russia and the Ukraine are among the biggest CD pirate-producing territories, exporting millions of illegal discs around Europe.

IFPI Press Release, January 27, 2000. Read the entire press release here.

Latin Music Pirates Sentenced to Prison

Two Latin music pirates, Miguel Sanchez and Abraham Morales Moreno, were found guilty of violating California’s True Name and Address Statute. The two were sentenced to three months and one year jail time respectively with Sanchez additionally fined over $3,200 in restitution to the RIAA. The pirates were arrested in December in Los Angeles following a raid by the L.A. Police Department Central Vice Division along with the RIAA’s anti-piracy team. More than 1,300 illegal CD-Rs of Latin Music were found at their illegal CD-R distribution center.

RIAA Fast Tracks, February 2, 2000

Europe’s First Criminal Judgement Against Internet Piracy

A French court ruling on December 6, 1999, against two individuals, a 24-year old computer technician and a 21-year old information technology student, convicted of illegally distributing whole albums of music repertoire, is the first criminal judgment against Internet pirates in Europe. The case was brought in June by the French anti-piracy organization SCPP on behalf of Sony Music Entertainment, Island Records, Warner Bros., Atlantic Records and the French author’s society SACEM. Both men were given a three-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay $15,300 in damages. This ruling spurs the development of a legitimate online music market and gives an important boost to the global fight against music piracy on the Internet.

IFPI Press Release, December 8, 1999. Read the entire press release here.

Wisconsin True Name and Address Statute

RIAA Vice President of Anti-Piracy Legislation, Don Valdez, recently testified before the Wisconsin Assembly Judiciary Committee on behalf of legislation to institute the Wisconsin True Name and Address Statute. This law, if passed, would require that manufacturers of sound recordings put their full name and address on each CD or cassette so it can be properly identified as legitimate music.

RIAA Fast Tracks, February 2, 2000

Recommended Reading

Hip-Hop Bootlegs: Blessing or Curse

A bootleg became a contentious issue when Untertainment music executive Lance “Un” Rivera was allegedly stabbed by rapper Jay-Z at the Kit Kat Club in early December. During the skirmish, the rapper angrily accused Rivera of bootlegging his soon-to-be-released album “Vol. 3 … Life and Times of S. Carter.” Ironically, bootlegs can be influential to Hip Hop music which gets its stamp of approval from the street. “To a certain degree, you want to see your artists bootlegged,” admits Blak Shawn, an A&R executive at Rawkus, “because that means your shit is hot.” Often the officially released work will be altered based on what was being sold illicitly prior to release. Jay-Z has since added three new songs to his album which was scheduled for release in late December.

New York, January 3, 2000 (Ethan Brown) 

Findlaw On The Web

– An excellent source for up-to-date legal information.

Scroll to Top