RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information
On October 30, 2004, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado arrested an individual at the Mile High Flea Market for selling pirated music CDs. A total of 219 pirated music CDs were seized from the vendor. All the music seized was of the Latin music genre. The suspect was charged with violating Colorado’s True Name and Address Statute.
On October 23, 2004, the Denver Police Department, assisted by members of the RIAA, conducted plain view seizures from five street vendors. 1,526 piratical CDs were seized and four vendors arrested. One vendor abandoned his contraband and fled. All product seized consisted of Latin music with Julieta Venegas, Los Huracanes del Norte, Pepe Aguilar, and other Latin artists among those whose works were being pirated.
On Tuesday, October 5, 2004, the Miami Police Department, with the assistance of the RIAA, raided a home in the City of Miami and arrested one person for manufacturing and distributing pirate/counterfeit music on CD-R and DVD formats. The individual had been under investigation for some time as a key distributor of music to street vendors in Miami. At the residence, two computers were seized along with 21 CD-R/DVD-R burners, over 3,500 CD and DVD inserts, 2,000 music CD-Rs and 2,000 music DVD-Rs. In addition, over 4,000 movies on DVD-R were also seized by the Miami Police Department. 95 percent of all the music seized was of the Latin music genre. The remaining five percent was pre-1972 repertoire containing Rock and R&B. Artist whose works were pirated included: Marc Anthony, Telgo Calderon, Thalia, Alejandro Fernandez, Chayanne, Tito Nieves, and many others. The individual was charged with violating Florida’s True Name and Address Statute.
A Baltimore vendor has been convicted of one count of Counterfeit TM: $1000 or less, one count of TNA and one count of Peddling w/o a License. He received 32 days in jail, full credit for time served. The August 2004 arrest was made by the Baltimore City Police Department and a total of three (3) CD-Rs were seized.
NYPD Hits Piracy on All Fronts. The New York Police Department kept the pressure up on music pirate activity by attacking the problem on all levels. RIAA investigators assisted in the execution of a search warrant directed at a manufacturing operation in Queens where 11 towers containing 94 burners, 2 CPUs, 1 image printer, 2 computer monitors, and 2,500 pieces of finished product were seized. The NYPD also struck at distribution operations in the Bronx seizing over 50,000 pirate CD-Rs and arresting two individuals, and in lower Manhattan, seizing over 17,000 pirate CD-Rs. The NYPD also executed four search warrants at retail locations in Queens arresting 5 and seizing almost 5,000 counterfeit/pirated CD-Rs.
On Tuesday, October 26, 2004, the New York Police Department’s Trademark Unit, assisted by the RIAA, executed a search warrant at 2,165 Jerome Ave in the Bronx. The location (a storage facility) acted as a distribution point, which was supplying counterfeit/pirate Latin CD-Rs and music DVDs to street vendors in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. One person was arrested and charged with Felony trademark offenses. 5,150 counterfeit/pirated CD-Rs and 750 Latin pirated music DVDs were seized at the storage facility. The person arrested was in possession of one box of inserts, one box of blank trays and 1,600 pirated CD-Rs that he was bringing into the storage location. The music seized was 100 % of the Latin genre. The following is a list of artists on the unauthorized sound recording seized: Alex Bueno, Anthony Santo, Aventura, Don Omar, Grupo Niche, Juan Luis Guerra, and Los Tigre Del Norte.
On Wednesday, October 13, 2004, the New York Police Department’s 34th Precinct, Condition’s Unit, assisted by the RIAA, executed a search warrant at 507 West 179th Street in Washington Heights. The location was a Latin Distributor who was selling Latin unauthorized CD-Rs to street vendors in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. The police action resulted in one person arrested and charged with a trademark offense. The subject arrested was in the process of relocating to another unknown location and was in possession of only 63 counterfeit/ pirated CD-Rs. The music seized was 100% Latin. The following is a list of artists on the unauthorized sound recording seized: Alejandro Fernandez, Carlos Vives, Tego Calderon , Don Omar and Antony Santos.
On Wednesday, October 6, 2004, the New York Police Department’s 114th Precinct, Intelligence Unit, assisted by the RIAA, executed a search warrant at 37-64 89th Street in Jackson Heights. The location is a One-Stop – El Tunel Musical Distributors – which sells legitimate CDs to record retailers in the Northeast, and was also selling pirated music and DVDs. The police action resulted in four persons arrested and charged with Felony trademark offenses. The police seized 1,584 pirated CDs and 273 pirated music DVDs. The music seized was 80% Latin and 20% Urban. The following is a list of artists whose works were being pirated: Anthony Santos, Aventura, Tego Calderon, Don Omar and Los Toros Band, among others.
Marc Anthony, Sony Discos, Carlos Vives & Los Bukis / Univision, Tego Calderon / BMG, Los Toros Band / Universal Latino. Also seized by the police were the following: nine (40x) burners, 9 DVD burners, four ( 52x) burners, 9 VCRs, 2 CD writers, 2 Computers, 2 servers, 2 color scanners, 2 computers, 1 box blank CD-Rs, 9 VCR, 2 color scanners, 9 DVD, 4 color printers, 300 CD masters, 4 flat screen monitors and 3000 Latin inserts.
Series of Piracy Training. The Director of Training provided training in music piracy to the Property Crimes Recovery Investigators Association, and to investigators in North Carolina engaged in a new statewide effort to fight copyright and trademark infringement activities by the Secretary of State.
Flea Market Litigation. Critical to our efforts to clean up flea market outlets for counterfeit and pirate music is to be able to hold the operators of those markets liable for infringing activities taking place at their venues. The Philadelphia office is working closely with the Washington legal staff to review and prepare for the Columbus Flea Market litigation trial which is entering the discovery phase.
Philadelphia Operations. Camden PD, assisted by RIAA investigators, conducted numerous seizures on street vendors in the area, 2 arrests were effected; one vendor was recently convicted and sentenced to 4 years in prison and $294.00 restitution to RIAA.
On Saturday, October 2, 2004, a vendor was found to be selling pirated Latin music CD-Rs at the Old Security Square Flea Market in Cleveland, TX. The vendor voluntarily surrendered 541 CD-Rs. All product surrendered was Latin music genre. The management was notified and has agreed to take proactive measures in removing vendors found to be selling pirated music.
A suspect was arrested at the Antique Center Flea Market where Richmond, Virginia PD seized 1,853 counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs. The Antique Center closed and the suspect had set up shop in a vacant space next door. Based on those new facts, officers from Richmond PD 2nd Precinct seized 1,702 counterfeit and piratical CD-Rs and 342 DVDs at this location and arrested the suspect a second time. Subsequently, the suspect entered a plea to an amended misdemeanor charge of petit larceny (18.2-96) and received six months of jail and serve one month, a $1000 fine, and 3 years unsupervised probation.
Members of the Prince George’s County Police Department arrested a suspect after he was observed selling counterfeit and pirate compact discs from a flatbed trailer. Over 3,400 CD-Rs were seized. The suspect stated during the field interview that he manufactured all the CDs at his residence. The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney would not issue a search warrant at that time for the residence and the investigation continues.
A Virginia Beach man was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 3 years in a federal penitentiary, suspended upon payment of $2,500.00 in restitution. The defendant was also ordered to pay a $100 fine, and will serve 180 days of home detention and five years probation. This sentence was a result of a July guilty plea to felony charges of Criminal Copyright Infringement stemming from joint investigations by the FBI Hampton and the Norfolk Police Department.
A Newport News man was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 3 months in a federal penitentiary, 180 days of home detention and 3 years probation. The defendant was also ordered to pay $1,434.00 in restitution split evenly between the RIAA and MPAA. This sentence was a result of a July guilty plea to felony charges of Trafficking in Counterfeit Labels stemming from joint investigations by the FBI Hampton and the Newport News Police Department.
A Richmond man pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge in Richmond Manchester General District Court for a September arrest and seizure of 1,702 illicit CD-Rs and 342 counterfeit DVDs. The defendant was ordered to serve one month of a six-month jail sentence, a $1,000 fine, and 3 years probation. The defendant was before the same court the previous month for an August arrest and seizure of counterfeit CD-Rs and DVDs by the Richmond Police Department Second Precinct.
As a result of a July guilty plea to charges of Trafficking in Counterfeit Labels stemming from joint investigations by the FBI Hampton and the Norfolk Police Department, a Norfolk man was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 5 years probation and also ordered to pay $2,000.00 in restitution to the RIAA and the MPAA. The defendant was also facing deportation by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for other circumstances which were on appeal. In light of his felony plea, the defendant will remain in custody and be processed for deportation.
A two-time convicted Philadelphia recidivist has been sentenced to 9 to 23 months incarceration for a violation of probation. The violation results from his third arrest which took place in Richmond, Virginia. The Virginia charges resulted in a felony conviction and incarceration in Richmond, Virginia for the sale of illegal sound recordings. The Washington DC office coordinated efforts with the Philadelphia office to bring pending matters relating to the suspect to the attention of the courts in both regions. The suspect is also facing a second Philadelphia violation of probation hearing this week and is expected to receive a similar sentence. The Parole and Probation Agent has requested the sentence to be consecutive.
Court Orders and Restitution in the West. The owner of a tape and record store pled guilty to state true name and address charges, was placed on 3-years probation and was ordered to pay $54,747.50 restitution to RIAA. RIAA investigators initially participated in the execution of two search warrants, one at the business and one at the defendant’s residence. Seized in the raid were 9,875 CDs, CD-Rs, 2 computer systems, 4 CD burners, 2 DVD burners, $36,534.00 in cash and a handgun.
West Coast Street Blitz. Arizona, Phoenix PD, assisted by RIAA investigators arrested 8 vendors, seized were 2,579 unauthorized CDs; Washington, Seattle PD seized during a two-day period, 7,836 CDs and 6 vendors were cited for misdemeanor violations; two individuals were taken into custody.
Series of Enforcement Actions across the South. The last two weeks of August saw police departments in Florida, Atlanta Colorado, Georgia, Texas, and Kansas engaged in a series of enforcement operations against pirate manufacture and distribution sites, arrests were made in all 6 states.