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RIAA Hires Artists, Then Sends In the SWAT team 420

Posted by Zonk
from the dirty-pool-riaa-dirty-pool dept.
cancan writes "The NY times is carrying an article about how the RIAA is hiring hip hop artists to make mix tapes, and then helping the police raid their studios. In the case of DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon, they were raided by SWAT teams with their guns drawn. The local police chief said later that they were 'prepared for the worst.' Men in RIAA jackets helped cart away 'evidence'. Just the same, 'Record labels regularly hire mixtape D.J.'s to produce CDs featuring a specific artist. In many cases, these arrangements are conducted with a wink and a nod rather than with a contract; the label doesn't officially grant the D.J. the right to distribute the artist's songs or formally allow the artist to record work outside of his contract.' " This is more of the shenanigans that we've previously discussed on the site.
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RIAA Hires Artists, Then Sends In the SWAT team

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  • Zappa (Score:5, Informative)

    by Threni (635302) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:09AM (#18066126)
    This is an old policy. Frank Zappa was commissioned by some pig or other to do some sex tapes - get a girl and record heavy breathing, simulated sex etc - then busted him for breaching obscenity laws. I think it's because the police are so on top of all the other laws, and have little else to do. Also, they're less likely to get their asses kicked by a bunch of musicians.
    • Re:Zappa (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Neuropol (665537) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:42AM (#18066286) Homepage
      My initial impression: Entrapment And since when does the RIAA get to act like feds and be part of a raid? The boundaries of law enforcement between the record industry seem to be heavily blurred if this is happening. Sounds like the RIAA wants to do a little too much CSI role playing in these setups. I'm imagining little numbered paper tents on tape reels, ziplock bags with drink straws and beer caps, carbon dust on mixing console faders, etc. This is a ridiculous waste of time and money. Who pays for this? Is this tax payer money being thrown at the desire to feel badass in a dark blue jacket with yellow letters on the back? All for the sake of abolishing the spread of entertainment. so. over. it. GET A NEW HOBBY.
      • Re:Zappa (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TFGeditor (737839) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:09AM (#18066380) Homepage
        "And since when does the RIAA get to act like feds and be part of a raid?"

        My first thought, too, on reading the summary.

        I do not know what it is going to take, but somehow, these **AA assclowns have to be stopped.

        I wish there was a way to incite a universal boycott of ALL **AA related products. Perhaps that would get someone's attention.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I wish there was a way to incite a universal boycott of ALL **AA related products. Perhaps that would get someone's attention.

          Everyone who is harassed by the RIAA should counter-sue them for $100M for being an illegal price-fixing monopoly. They have already been convicted of this.

      • Re:Zappa (Score:5, Funny)

        by digitig (1056110) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:34AM (#18066486)

        My initial impression: Entrapment
        That was my initial impression too. Then I read the linked article.
      • by Misch (158807)
        The more and more RIAA acts like $cientology, [cmu.edu] the more and more people dislike them.
      • Re:Zappa (Score:4, Informative)

        by bhima (46039) <Bhima...Pandava@@@gmail...com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:04AM (#18066588) Journal
        This happens when your government supports the profits of the corporations over the rights of the citizens. Mussolini called it "corporatism" but that moniker didn't really take off so we're left with just plain old fashioned "Fascism".
        • by shis-ka-bob (595298) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:05AM (#18067322)
          This is truly what Fascism is, the binding together of corporate and governmental power. The corporations prosper and the power of their capital is fused with the power of the state to govern. Viewing fascism as corporations serving the government is only half of the story, the other half is that that power of the state is made available to corporations. This is almost a textbook example of the latter.
      • Re:Zappa (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:07AM (#18066610)
        And since when does the RIAA get to act like feds and be part of a raid?

        Special interest groups participating in law enforcement activities is not limited to the RIAA.

        As Radley Balko [slashdot.org] pointed out in a column on Mothers Against Drunk Driving [cato.org] (emphasis added):

        Unfortunately, the tax-exempt organization has become so enmeshed with government it has nearly become a formal government agency. MADD gets millions of dollars in federal and state funding, and has a quasi-official relationship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In some jurisdictions, DWI defendants are sentenced to attend and pay for alcoholic-recovery groups sponsored by MADD. In many cities, MADD officials are even allowed to man sobriety checkpoints alongside police.
      • by Cally (10873)

        since when does the RIAA get to act like feds and be part of a raid?
        Since the Pigopolists took over the government.
      • Re:Zappa (Score:5, Insightful)

        by penix1 (722987) on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:45AM (#18066824) Homepage

        Who pays for this? Is this tax payer money being thrown at the desire to feel badass in a dark blue jacket with yellow letters on the back?


        They were arrested on RICO charges which is one of the most abused laws in the nation. RICO allows for the immediate confiscation and auction of the property of the accused. It was originally used against the mob and later applied to drug dealers. The idea is to prevent them from using "ill-gotten gains" to fund their defense. So things like houses, cars, money in the bank, and other valuable property is sold at auction with the proceeds going to the state to fund further raids like these. In short, the DJ's paid for their own raid.

        IMO, if RICO should be applied to anyone it should be the RIAA.

        B.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by beakerMeep (716990)
          I would think confiscation would be something that they do but auctioning someone's property before a conviction would be grounds for a constitutional challange to the law wouldn't it?
      • by encoderer (1060616) on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:49AM (#18066852)
        I am so sick of hearing people misuse "entrapment" as a defense.

        To be entrapment, two important things must be true:

        1. You must be "convinced" to do something that you normally would _never_ do. (And it's your burden to prove this)
        2. The person doing the convincing must be an agent of the State.

        That is what "entrapment" means.
        • by SnapShot (171582) on Monday February 19, 2007 @10:41AM (#18067176)
          With RIAA joining in on the raid and getting the cops and the SWAT team to do their bidding doesn't it start to sound like the RIAA is an agent of the state? Or, more likely, the state is an agent of the RIAA?

          As far as the first question, were they likely to commit their alleged crimes without RIAA inducement? Who knows...
          • by encoderer (1060616) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:47AM (#18067662)
            I understand your sentiment, but strictly speaking, you're wrong.

            Co-operating with the government doesn't make you an agent of the state.

            It's really a legal gray area, but it's still legal.

            Another example of this is employer drug testing. In Ohio where I live, the state government gives a kickback to companies that drug screen their employees, in the form of reduced Workmans Comp premiums. Often DRAMATICALLY reduced. In this particular case, the State could never drug test people. So they enlist a willing partner.

            In this particular case, the police aren't working for the RIAA, as you claim. They are merely doing their job. A crime has been reported by a reputable investigator (yes, reputable could be argued, especially here, but work with me..) and the state is right to respond.

            Consider the scenario where a shoplifter is detained by store security (a reputable investigator) and when the police arrive, they take them into custody. Very similar.

            The sneaky part is that the RIAA is hiring these guys to break the law. Yes, that's sneaky, but it's entirely legal.

            And I contend that it only looks as bad as it does because it's the RIAA doing it. An infamous villan.

            Consider this: What if, say, Apple (cause everyone LOVES apple) discovered a factory in the US that would make counterfeits. So they represent themselves as "investors" and contact this factory and ask them to make a counterfeit iPod. The company agrees. During production, Apple contacts the authorities, and has the plant shut down. I doubt many slashdotters would be crying about such a scenario, and it's very analogous to what's happening here.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by honkycat (249849)

              The sneaky part is that the RIAA is hiring these guys to break the law. Yes, that's sneaky, but it's entirely legal.
              If the RIAA is knowingly hiring them to break the law, that is certainly not legal. If it hired them to "break" copyright on its holdings, then it's probably also implicitly given them license to do so. However, if these agreements were arranged with a "wink and a nod" as stated, it's going to be pretty easy for them to weasel out of it.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Tmack (593755)

              ... The sneaky part is that the RIAA is hiring these guys to break the law. Yes, that's sneaky, but it's entirely legal.

              ...

              Not quite legal, its called "Solicitation". You are asking someone to do something illegal. Same as if they posed as Johns asking under-cover officers for "services". They would be arrested for soliciting the officer for those services. The officer gets away un-charged, as they have a clear conscience in the eyes of the law: they have no intent to actually perform the illegal activity as they are officers of the law itself. In this case, the RIAA is more like someone acting like an undercover cop, solici

    • Other laws? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Veetox (931340)
      What other laws are the "police" on top of? According to CNN Money [http://money.cnn.com/], Atlanta, GA, is listed as having a personal crime rate FIVE times the national average - and the "police" (Influenced by the RIAA) have the time and resources to bust people for selling unlicensed MIXES? It looks like some organizations need to have their priorities straightened, and perhaps that involves ignoring the RIAA when it comes calling for an entire SWAT team. "Guns drawn"? "Prepared for the worst"? What wer
  • Criminal Liability? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Garrett Fox (970174) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:13AM (#18066148) Homepage
    If that's so, could the RIAA be hauled into criminal court for conspiracy to commit piracy?
    • by BabyDave (575083) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:17AM (#18066164)
      "And if there's one type of piracy I don't like, it's CONS-piracy."
    • Misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digitig (1056110) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:23AM (#18066192)
      Not as far as I can see from the article; the Slashdot summary seems misleading. As far as I can see from the article the RIAA had somebody busted that they had previously employed on a different project. I can't find anything in the linked article to suggest the set-up that the Slashdot article implies. Surely the RIAA does enough scummy things that we don't have to make things up about them?
      • Misleading, but still pretty shitty. On one hand, RIAA enjoyed the fame and quality of work of those guys enough to seek them out and employ them. Then they turned around and punched them in the face, as if to say, "We don't care if you make mixes if you're a nobody, but if you ever become famous enough for us to hire you once, you aren't allowed to do any more work in the field unless we're paying you to do it."
      • Re:Misleading (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 1point618 (919730) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:06AM (#18066374)
        I completely agree. However, the RIAA did do something scummy: they're leaving BestBuy and other distributors be, free to continue selling the same CD's. Also, previously the DJ's felt that there was sort of a "you help us, we won't go after you" feeling towards the whole deal, that is no longer present.

        Off topic: my favorite part of the article was when one of the rappers interviewed said he didn't support mixtapes, by which he meant he bought and listened to them (of course) but didn't like it when his material was used. It seems to me that it's greed and hypocrisy like this that permeates the RIAA and major labels. I guess that's normal for capitalism, and why I'm all for creating laws that protect citizens from the corporations as much as we have them to protect us from the government.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by minsk (805035)

          The government passes laws designed to protect corporations from people. Some corporations abuse these laws to make a larger profit (why not? it's legal!). People demand more laws to protect themselves from the corporations.

          Somehow, I think I can see which groups are benefiting here. Not people or corporations, and certainly not small business.

        • by mgiuca (1040724)

          I'm all for creating laws that protect citizens from the corporations as much as we have them to protect us from the government.
          Isn't the government supposed to protect us from the corporations?

          They're doing a lousy job of it.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
        I didn't pick up anything misleading in the summary.

        The "scummy business" the RIAA did was to hire DJs to do mixtapes for an artist that they were trying to promote and then at some later date sicced the SWAT guys on them. Maybe the artist didn't do so well.

        In other words, the DJ's operation was legal enough for them when it suited their purposes, but required an armed SWAT team after they decided he was no longer useful. In my world view, that's plenty scummy.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:34AM (#18066484) Homepage Journal

      The underlying story actually makes more sense if you understand that the RIAA is not the recording industry, but a group that represents them, and that in all likelihood the probability that the story's claim that the RIAA "hired" any hip-hop artists to do anything at all is pretty close to zero.

      This is more like Microsoft hiring some programmers to produce some kind of installation CD with a variety of applications, much of which is not from Microsoft, and then the BSA busting them for piracy. Yes, Microsoft is a member of the BSA, but that doesn't mean the BSA has much to do with the day-to-day decision making processes at Microsoft or vice-versa.

      On the face of it, an article about the BSA raiding a company started by Microsoft wouldn't generate the same kind of Slashdot reactions. We might be amazed Microsoft ever started such a company, but we wouldn't think this was some kind of wierd "entrapment" thing.

      Unfortunately, it remains the case that Slashdot seriously believes that the RIAA is a massive, monopolistic, music publisher as opposed to an industry group that represents publishers. Slashdot has, judging from the headline, gone beyond merely repeating this nonsense and now actually believes it.

      • by Cally (10873)

        Unfortunately, it remains the case that Slashdot seriously believes that the RIAA is a massive, monopolistic, music publisher as opposed to an industry group that represents publishers.

        And the difference is... what, exactly?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeffasselin (566598)
        And the underlying assumption of your post that "Slashdot" is a monolithic groupthink is different how exactly?
  • by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:15AM (#18066158)
    That the (maf)*IAA would resort to illegal tactics to catch people acting "illegally"...

    Hmns... I for one welcome our new Alien overlords (a frontal lobotomy and rectal probe would be less painful than having to deal with the *AAs of the world). Fuck the corporations!
    • by rucs_hack (784150) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:00AM (#18066362)
      I don't see anything in the article about them being hired then being busted for doing the thing they were hired to do.

      Seems to me they had been hired once, but that wasn't anything to do with the raid.
      Mind you, the raid itself seemed a bit extreme.
      They found none of the stuff that made them think they should go in armed. Still, I don't know what percentage of raids of this type do turn up arms/drugs, or how many they have to do, the gun toting could simply be policy.

      The suppresion of semi ligitimate music outlets is all part of the RIAAs remit, so this shouldn't be surprising. They aren't defenders of law, they are defenders of a business model, and have worked to change laws to protect that business model.
      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:33AM (#18066752)
        Mind you, the raid itself seemed a bit extreme.
        They found none of the stuff that made them think they should go in armed. Still, I don't know what percentage of raids of this type do turn up arms/drugs, or how many they have to do, the gun toting could simply be policy.


        I hate to use a phrase from the Iraq War, but it fits. It's "shock and awe" tacticts. Despite what Slashdotters want to believe, the DJs are bootleggers. This article stated that it found 25,000 CDs. A previous article I believe put that number at 75,000. Folks, this is an organized bootleg operation that got shut down. Going in armed is typical of this type of operation to shut down bootleggers. They do it to try to send a message of fear to other people who might be involved in the same thing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fredklein (532096)
          Folks, this is an organized bootleg operation that got shut down

          From TFA:

          "Mixtapes also feature unreleased songs, often "leaked" to the D.J. by a record label that wants to test an artist's popularity or build hype for a coming album release. Record labels regularly hire mixtape D.J.'s to produce CDs featuring a specific artist."

          "...when label employees send [mix DJs] tracks to include on his mixtapes, they request a copy of the mixtape so that they can show their bosses the track is "getting spin from the
  • by Cordath (581672) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:24AM (#18066200)
    It seems fairly obvious to me. Rap stars need to have "street cred" in order to rise into the upper echelons of rap stardom. That means a criminal record. Say you were a unscrupulous record producer who had a hot new talent on his hands. Say that the talent happens to be a squeaky clean wannabe thug from the 'burbs. Once your man has recorded a record all you have to do is plant some evidence/drugs and make an anonymous phone-call. Heck, if you're lucky those cops might be the trigger happy sort and you'll wind up with the next Tupac on your hands. (Not to mention the fact that your "client"'s contract probably cedes all royalties to the record company upon death...)

    It sounds far-fetched, I know. However, one really does have to wonder if the majority of hardened criminals driving the rap industry are actually the sort that wears three-piece suits.
    • by gelfling (6534)
      He went to the Baltimore School of the Fine Arts on a scholarship. His mother is like the poet laureate of Maryland or something like that.
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:40AM (#18066278)
    Anyone that can help cut down on hip-hop gets my vote.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ettlz (639203)
      I read someone somewhere explain that "rap" is actually spelt with a silent "c".
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        rapc?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        <Batty> Euch, rap is just missing one letter. c.
        <zeep> rapc?
        <Batty> ...
        <Batty> Crap you idiot. you put the c on the other end
        <zeep> oic
        <Batty> Though you could also say it's missing an e
        <zeep> wtf is erap?
        * Batty bangs his head repeatedly against a wall

        http://bash.org/?329292
  • Good Work (Score:3, Funny)

    by kingturkey (930819) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:59AM (#18066350)
    Keep up the good work! SWAT teams should be arresting more hip-hop "artists" for crimes against humanity.
  • Hollywood Accounting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:02AM (#18066370)

    D.J.'s. Pimp C told me that because there is no paper trail, mixtape D.J.'s are able to invent sales figures, and they routinely claim that, after their overhead, they just break even.


    It reminds me of something....

    Winston Groom's price for the screenplay rights to his novel Forrest Gump included a share of the profits; however, due to Hollywood accounting, the film's commercial success was converted into a net loss, and Groom received nothing. As such, he has refused to sell the screenplay rights to the novel's sequel, stating that he cannot in good conscience allow money to be wasted on a failure.


    Seems they also use Hollywood Accounting [wikipedia.org].
    Be carefull, next time it's gonna be a MPAA bust, afterall DJ's are using hollywood's trade secret !

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The RIAA has way too much power, just like our own government. You, RIAA, are PURE SCUM and the earth needs to be cleansed from things like you!
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:18AM (#18066416) Journal
    shot of a grave-looking police officer saying, "In this case we didn't find drugs or weapons, but it's not uncommon for us to find other contraband."

    Or to put it another way, these people are completely innocent of all crimes related to drugs or weapons. Of course, by putting it this way, there's a clear implication that these people are somehow connected to the illegal drugs trade.
  • where's the contract? Nobody releases work for distribution without a contract. I seriously doubt they had a "wink and a nod" agreement to remix songs and release it, especially for profit.

    Without a signed contract it's bs.

    Though I do agree the RIAA is a bunch of douchebags for going all S.S. on them.

    To
  • Nas has confirm it, Hip Hop is dead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:32AM (#18066480)
    Over the past several years, Radley Balko [reason.com] (formerly with the Cato Institute, now an editor at Reason), has documented the increasing frivolous mis-use of SWAT teams.

    Last year, he published his findings in a book called "Overkill" (page here [cato.org], direct link to free copy in 2 MB PDF here [cato.org]).

    Also, check out his blog at TheAgitator.com [theagitator.com] , and his posts at Reason's blog [reason.com].

    Americans have long maintained that a man's home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

    These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

    This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.
  • Uhh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:38AM (#18066494) Homepage
    >Men in RIAA jackets helped cart away 'evidence'.

    Uh, the defendant's lawyer is going to have fun attacking the chain of evidence there.
  • RIAA flips out (Score:5, Informative)

    by subsonic (173806) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:42AM (#18066516) Journal
    Yes, this is a seperate mixtape apart from the agreed upon earlier releases. Depending on who those DJs deal with, they may have just figured they would do another mixtape, then discovered (with guns pointed in their faces) that that was not part of the agreement.

    As something of a fan of hip hop, it's kind of scary to see that the RIAA is going to clamp down on mixtapes. mixtapes are where trends start. It's a vital part of the cycle of hip hop production.

    If producers, rappers and DJs don't have the freedom of the mixtape to test-market beats or styles or even simply as a means to promote themselves or their labels, this is going to hurt hip hop on the national level. And it will drive money away from the RIAA, which is the opposite goal of the RIAA (at least, I think it is- it's hard to tell these days).
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      So, you're saying this is a good thing then ...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by koreaman (835838)
      Although generally I don't agree with the RIAA's actions, your response has convinced me that they are in the right. I applaud them for contributing to the downfall of hip-hop "on a national level".
    • That's the problem. In terms of the law, it doesn't really matter if the mix tapes are advertisement. Using large pieces of any single copyrighted item without the copyright owner's permission is infringement. Maybe if a mix tape contains no more than seconds of any given artist's work, they might be considered some odd twist of a "review" under fair use, but that's up to judician interpretation. Maybe if the labels weren't so rigid about their licencing, it wouldn't be a problem. Back when I used to p
    • by mgiuca (1040724)
      There's a strong school of thought that says that piracy in general is a huge driving force behind music and movie purchases. In other words, people a) purchase content so they can share them with their friends, which they otherwise wouldn't purchase, and b) people download or otherwise pirate content to "try it out" and are afterwards happy enough to purchase the real thing.

      This line of reasoning would suggest that all of the RIAA/MPAA's attacks on file sharing, use of DRM, etc, is harmful to their own ind
  • WTF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by koreaman (835838)
    So, one of the things I glean from this article is that the RIAA pays artists to make mixtapes, encouraging them to violate copyright laws? Nobody else is shocked by this? Especially amazing is the Mafia-like behavior surrounding it, secret agreements, payment under the table, etc. I thought things like that were only done in the movies, and even then not by self-styled "respectable" organizations like the RIAA.
  • There isn't even mention that the RIAA hired *these* same DJs.

    Even if so, they do not say the projects for which this happened were RIAA sanctioned, explicitly or implicitly.

    I think the leap of logic made is that RIAA sanctions this sort of activity, therefore it is hypocritical to punish it. The problem for them is that a DJ is, without their permission, and by extension without RIAA getting money for it, is duplicating and manipulating works that they have ownership rights of. Reproducing them and manip
  • jackbooted thugs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wansu (846) on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:22AM (#18066688)


    ' Men in RIAA jackets helped cart away 'evidence'.

    So these guys are now behaving like law enforcement agencies, going in with RIAA jackets and so forth? Their importance is way overblown. They're acting like ATF agents. What's next? Will they burn down a compound?

  • by thorkyl (739500) on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:32AM (#18066748)
    RIAA: Hey mixer, we want you to create mix tapes

    Mixer: whats in it for me?

    RIAA: We are going to raid your studio on Friday morning with SWAT, you will be famous

    Mixer: How much will this fame cost me?

    RIAA: You do this or we will just raid your studio and sue you for everything your worth
                since you own recording equipment and are not giving us money
  • Any step taken to eliminate hip hop is good...
  • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:01AM (#18067294)
    The RIAA does this thing enough times, they're going to kill someone.

    The routine use of paramilitary police raids for nonviolent offenders gets people killed [cato.org] on a routine basis. Three cops are now on trial for murder in Atlanta because they raided a house, killed an innocent old lady, and then lied after the fact to establish a bogus justification for the warrant. Police in Virginia raided a dentist's [justiceforsal.com] house for records related to illegal gambling, and one of the cops violated the two first laws of firearms safety and shot him dead when he tripped with his fucking finger on the trigger.

    The steady flow of federal dollars for "homeland security" has exacerbated a problem which was started by the War on Some Drugs: incompetent, ill-trained paramilitary police forces who are both encouraged to "prepare for the worst" and given access to powerful weaponry. The result is a bunch of corpses. Corpses of innocent people, non-violent offenders, and even cops. The nature of unannounced no-known raids turns non-violent, low-stress situations into violent and stressful ones, with predictable results. In many of these cases (like the aforementioned dentist), regular cops showing up, knocking on the door, and serving a warrant, would be sufficient to perform the desired search. But when a dozen cops burst through the door with guns drawn, people get killed.

    The RIAA instigates enough of these raids, the RIAA are going to kill someone. For copyright violation. It's just a matter of time.
    • better link (Score:3, Informative)

      by Scudsucker (17617)
      In the dentists [washingtonpost.com] case, it looks like the county routinely uses SWAT teams for search warrants. In any case, the officer that shot Mr. Culosi was a 17 year veteran, so his carelessness should get him charged with negligent homicide rather than manslaughter.
  • It's about control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Migraineman (632203) on Monday February 19, 2007 @11:13AM (#18067380)
    On Page 5 of the article, there's a wonderful summary of the situation:

    The economics of mixtapes appeal to XL, and so do their politics; as he sees it, mixtapes undermine the power of major record labels and radio stations. "Most artists can't afford to get their music on the radio, but an artist has the right to let his fan base hear what he's done," XL said. "Who is the label to dictate how to feed the fan base?"
    It's all about control. The RIAA's mission is about controlling the distribution channel. These individuals had gotten successful enough that they became a credible threat. The RIAA can't allow them to continue being successful. So the RIAA sent a rather thuggish message ...

    The truely disturbing element of all this is that the law enforcement folks allowed the RIAA representatives to play a pseudo-law-enforcement role. The defense attorneys should petition to discard all evidence that's come in contact with the RIAA representatives. At a minimum, the evidenciary chain of custody has been broken. The RIAA has a substantial interest in the outcome of the case, and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the evidence. Law Enforcement officers are specially trained to be impartial. They're directly accountable through the courts. They're held to a higher standard. They're an element of "due process." The RIAA is none of these (though they pretend to be law enforcement on TV.)

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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