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RIAA Arrests Pro Artist for Making Mixtapes

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-are-doing-this-all-wrong dept.

Music 426

Maximum Prophet writes "The RIAA is now going after mixtapes; specifically, the well-known mixtapes of rap artist DJ Drama. From the article: 'On Tuesday night he was arrested with Don Cannon, a protégé. The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for.' The story goes on to say that many of the artists featured on the mixtapes would never have had the exposure and thus sales they had if DJ Drama had not featured them on a mix. Nowhere is a specific artist mentioned who claims to have been wronged by him. Additionally, the article states that mixtapes such as those made by DJ Drama are an accepted and integral part of rap music culture. His arrest is confusing on several levels."

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Common Denominator (-1, Flamebait)

P(0)(!P(k)+P(k+1)) (1012109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669554)

From TFS:

His arrest is confusing on several levels.

You don't seem to appreciate the kind of despotism you're dealing with; let's play a game called “name the common denominator:”

  • MPAA
  • RIAA
  • Bolshevik Revolution
  • Apartheid Israel

Here's a clue: the players are both slaves and tyrants.

Re:Common Denominator (1, Offtopic)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669712)

> Apartheid Israel

Um, right. I'd suggest researching the difference between Apartheid, where the whites made no effort to bring blacks into society, no effort to help them, little to no effort to improve their living conditions and zero effort toward living in peace together, and Israel, where there were constant offerings of sharing land-recovery techniques, allowing arabs living in Israel the right to vote, making constant sacrifices of land in the hopes of achieving peace, etc. etc. Just because you're able to read a headline about Jimmy Carter doesn't mean you have any idea what you're talking about. In fact, your 4th bullet proves you don't.

Re:Common Denominator (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669884)

Human rights abuses are more important that dicking about over land lot ownership reform, especially as some 70% of Israel has been forbidden from being sold or purchased by anyone by the State anyway.

The RIAA are HEROES!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670182)

The REAL question remains unanswered after all these years: Just why ARE all Macintosh users homosexual? And why DO the authorities decline to prosecute them for homosexual behavior? Hell, if adulterers can get life imprisonment in Michigan, is it so hard to do something similar to the fanboi's who really are dangerous and annoying?

In your heart, you know I'm right.

Re:Common Denominator (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669936)

The Israeli's should not even be there in the first place. It is the Arab's land. They got rightfully - for the time - kicked out and shouldn't have returned thousands of years later. Especially not because some Hitler guy thousands of miles away decided he wanted to execute some of them.

And if you mean constant offerings of land you must also mean all the jailings of innocents who are shopping miles from their house and lost papers or those visiting their families and not allowed back in. The oh so innocent torturing of them for information. The missiling of innocent democratic nations that were promised helped by the UN and never received it. Yes, what a wonderful example of a country!

Re:Common Denominator (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670432)

The Israeli's should not even be there in the first place. It is the Arab's land. They got rightfully - for the time - kicked out and shouldn't have returned thousands of years later. Especially not because some Hitler guy thousands of miles away decided he wanted to execute some of them.
So, when are the American's going to get out of the native's (red skins) land?

Re:Common Denominator (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670570)

>So, when are the American's going to get out of the native's (red skins) land?

We're not. We already killed most of them. Is that really the example you want to follow?

Re:Common Denominator (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670496)

You mean sacrificing the land that they took from the Palestinians (who had either controlled the land or been occupied by european powers for centuries before that) by force in the 1940s after the Ally powers sold a bunch of surplus military hardware to some rich American Jews?

Yeah, some sacrifice. The Arab world will never accept Israel because of the way it was founded and the animosity with which it approached its neighbors. Most in the Arab world see the plight of Palestinians in Israel as akin to Darfur, Bosnia or any other genocide; only the oppressors have the backing of the western industrialized nations.

There will never be peace in the middle east until Israel is gone. It's not a personal opinion; I could give a shit less about Israel. The countries around that had to shelter millions of Palestinian refugees (who they believed had a right to try to take back their homes, as they were taken from them by force) see Israel as a hostile, lying, unnegotiable partner. The Israelis see the Palestinians in the same light.

But I do have good news.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669556)

I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico

And I have bad news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670260)

I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico
Any idea if Geico will pay for the vehicles confiscated in this raid?

FTFA:
So the police confiscated 81,000 discs, four vehicles, recording gear, and "other assets that are proceeds of a pattern of illegal activity," said Chief Jeffrey C. Baker, from the Morrow, Ga., police department, which participated in the raid.
I can understand gathering evidence, with the discs and recording gear being directly connected to the alleged crime, but this sounds like the police scored a "Payday" to me. At least, that's how the Chief's comment reads. If it works for the war on drugs, it should work for the war on copyright-infringement, and so it'll work for the war on jaywalking.

why so onerous, technology, redux (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669562)

Wow, only 3 articles later, and more media industry trampling. Now the trampling is on artists (the mixers).

On a personal level, I've always had mixed feelings about hiphop and mixing from other artists, especially when used without permission. But at a gut level I tend to agree it's a different kind of creativity and creation, and the end result is exposure of old (and new) music in ways never heard before. The final net result is positive for all parties involved.

The research I was able to do showed pretty clearly using other artists' work in mixes is tacitly allowed with a wink. The artists getting additional exposure are getting free advertising. (I'd be happy to know if there are artists out there who really don't want their art in others' mixes.

This clearly underscores the RIAA's hypocrisy in that their thesis includes the tenet they are out to protect the artists, but if more exposure, and ultimately more happy consumers and sellers all around doesn't fit the definition of "protection", I'm at a loss.

In the meantime unknown artists who may have never seen the light of day get world-wide exposure. Sales across the genre, and from the borrowed genre (I just had to go out and get the Steppenwolf, after hearing the mix with "Magic Carpet Ride") go up. Everybody could be happy.

But I keep forgetting it doesn't seem to be about being happy (on all levels: aesthetic, profit), it's about power and control. The RIAA wants to control something they feel slipping out of their hands and they seem more desparate every day.

I keep thinking it'd be interesting to organize some loosely structured boycott or activity against the RIAA, but as I mentioned in my very recent post [slashdot.org] the irritation factor alone may be enough to push consumers away.

I'm always reminded of a favorite Peanuts cartoon [darkknight.ca] (kudos to slashdotter Patrick Furlong for finding that old cartoon for me) where the RIAA behaves much like Lucy... they want "us" to have fun, but give us minimal leash to do so... and even then when they see we've figured a way to have fun with so little leash, they want to take that away too. Stupid gits!

Re:why so onerous, technology, redux (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669690)

your favorite peanuts cartoon website is loading the comic, then immediately redirecting to the frontpage of the website. Very annoying.

Re:why so onerous, technology, redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669846)

No, not it's not. The page loads just fine and doesn't redirect (and I'm using IE6).

Re:why so onerous, technology, redux (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670048)

I tried activating Javascript for the site temporarily and got no redirect to the front page. There is a script to redirect to the framed page if you try to access it unframed, but that's all I can see. There is some content for which I don't have the plug-in, so perhaps the redirect is being performed through one of them.

Re:why so onerous, technology, redux (3, Insightful)

questionlp (58365) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669776)

yagu wrote:
This clearly underscores the RIAA's hypocrisy in that their thesis includes the tenet they are out to protect the artists, but if more exposure, and ultimately more happy consumers and sellers all around doesn't fit the definition of "protection", I'm at a loss.

I think "protect the artists" should be interpreted as: protecting their profits and control over their artists that have signed to the labels covered under the RIAA.

Independent artists and labels that are not under the RIAA umbrella are non-existant from the RIAA's point of view when it comes to protection.

Re:why so onerous, technology, redux (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670168)

I think that part of this issue is that they want to be the single source of exposure for their artists, so anyone else that helps them out is a potential problem.

A bit like drug dealers actually.... make sure your people are dependent on you, make sure they can't get what they want anywhere else, shoot any other dealers on your turf....

loosely structured boycott (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670224)

Wait, you mean you're still buying RIAA-tainted CDs?

Re:why so onerous, technology, redux (4, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670480)

Realistically its not about the "artist", but it is about the music labels. They are an association who's prime customer is the music labels. If the music labels don't think this is a good idea the RIAA will backtrack... But it will be interesting to see how this plays out.. If it gets enough attention you might even see some Rap heavy labels pulling out of the RIAA.

Mixers are NOT artists!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670548)

,Nuff said....

Except that they are a bunch of rip-off "artists" if that is what you mean.

Rap is shit! Garbage! Stealing!

Very Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669568)

So, they've stopped arresting their customers and started in on their own talent.

MAFIAA (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669832)

So, they've stopped arresting their customers and started in on their own talent.

Well, it goes to show that they don't care about talent; they care about control of the market.

Re:MAFIAA (1)

Tet (2721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670440)

Well, it goes to show that they don't care about talent; they care about control of the market.

No it doesn't. It shows they're going after someone who broke the law by infringing their copyright. There is nothing either ethical or legal about mixtapes, so it seems pretty reasonable to me. Of course, I'm not denying that the industry don't give a shit about talent, and are hell bent on keeping control of the market. That's all true. But that's incidental, and it's not the obvious conclusion to draw from their actions here.

Confusing (2, Interesting)

poticlin (1034042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669584)

I'm confused

If there is no complaint from the copyright owner, why was he arrested?

Re:Confusing (2, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669702)

99.9% of the time the lables are the owner of the music not the artists.

Re:Confusing (4, Insightful)

RedACE7500 (904963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669716)

I'm also confused. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. He should be served in court, not arrested by the police. He should only be arrested if he fails to appear in court and the judge orders an arrest warrant. /IANAL

Re:Confusing (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670060)

Yeah, but then the police don't get to go through his house looking for bonus points. Finding some weed would be the equivalent of a 1-up.

Re:Confusing (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670084)

Most jurisdictions have crimes for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted work. The feds are most famous for this.

It's sad that this isn't known; both sides cloud the debate so horribly, people can't tell what's going on.

Re:Confusing (2, Informative)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670200)

When you start illegally selling copyrighted works as opposed to gratis distribution, it moves from civil to criminal.

Re:Confusing (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669756)

You're confusing artists with copyright holders. Most of the former must sell all their rights to someone else to get their "big break," and so the actual owners of this IP are the members of the RIAA. Of course, I didn't RTFA, but I suspect that someone acting on behalf of an RIAA member instigated the raid. Hence, the copyright owners were complaining. The original artist, of course, has no say in the matter.

Another example (4, Insightful)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669594)

Another example of the RIAA looking out for what THEY believe are the interests of the artists... when really isn't the interest of their own pockets. The artists may get exposure from such tapes... but the RIAA doesn't profit from mixtapes... so they're bad.

Re:Another example (1)

un1xl0ser (575642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670338)

I'm ignorant, how does the RIAA make money. Do they get a cut of albums, or do artits/labels pay them dues?

I think that it would be strange for them to get an actual cut, but that's just me.

They used a SWAT team (5, Interesting)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669606)

Tech Liberation Front is also reporting that the raid was carried out with the help of a SWAT team [techliberation.com] . Cripes, what exactly did the lawyers tell the police was happening in there?

Re:They used a SWAT team (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669772)

A black male aged 18-35?

Re:They used a SWAT team (2, Insightful)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669814)

Hip-hop = black. Look at the DVD covers and read the lyrics of blacks: guns, gangs, drugs, murder, etc. The police have no idea what to expect and look for the worst-case scenario: whatever they are rapping about they will actually do in real life.

I guarantee you that if it was classical or elevator music being mixed, it would only be couple of deputies to arrest the, presumedly, white guy.

Re:They used a SWAT team (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670004)

I guarantee you that if it was classical or elevator music being mixed, it would only be couple of deputies to arrest the, presumedly, white guy. Let me correct that for you I guarantee you that if it was classical or elevator music being mixed, the presumed white guy would have gotten a letter.

Re:They used a SWAT team (5, Informative)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669830)

They used the SWAT team because, according to a guy in a RIAA jacket who spoke to a FOX reporter on camera after the raid, copyright infringers usually carry drugs and weapons. Video from the raid can be found here [myfoxatlanta.com] .

Re:They used a SWAT team (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669962)

Maybe they thought there might be people with guns inside who were willing to use them. I have no idea where they could have gotten that idea, but that's usually why you have a SWAT raid rather than a polite knock and serving of a warrant.

Re:They used a SWAT team (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670276)


Tech Liberation Front is also reporting that the raid was carried out with the help of a SWAT team. Cripes, what exactly did the lawyers tell the police was happening in there?

Perhaps it was a rehearsal for the day when the RIAA undertakes protecting the copyright interests of gangsta rappers, who then undertake to rape the RIAA and it's lawyers and pillage their offices.

Hey! Sounds like a great idea for a movie! Time-out while I call my lawyer and get the conception documented -- assuming he doesn't tell his wife, who tells her hairdresser, who passes it on to his favorite producer, who gives it up to a MPAA VIP in a losing game of TIC-TAC-TOE.

Re:They used a SWAT team (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670296)

Tech Liberation Front is also reporting that the raid was carried out with the help of a SWAT team. Cripes, what exactly did the lawyers tell the police was happening in there?

Its the result of too much misplaced money. Every little podunk town is getting federal funding for swat nowadays, so the big ones get proportionally more money. When you've got all those resources sitting around idle people start to question if the money was well spent in the first place. Thus pressure to justify their existence is great and every little situation that might possibly require it gets a SWAT deployment.

Re:They used a SWAT team (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670376)

No doubt DJ Drama is a toker.

The pigs love nothing more than scaring the shit out of harmless tokers by sticking guns in their faces and putting them down. It makes them feel powerful and important.

Just another little side benefit of living in this sick little police state of ours.

Fuck the police!

Confusing Indeed (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669612)

The mixtape industry is rife with payola straight from record label pockets.

Well, there IS no distinction (5, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669628)

The law in this case if very broken, but arrest are made based on what the law is, not what it should be.

This is a good thing - a legitimate activity shouldn't exist under constant threat of prosecution; only avoiding it because everyone feels that the law shouldn't be applied in this case. If that's actually true, then the law needs to be changed, not ignored (until it isn't).

Re:Well, there IS no distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670152)

IMHO this is *not* a good thing. In the netherlands smoking hash is forbidden by law. Yet nobody cares and me likes it that way. Of course the best solution would be to legalise it, but as long as nobody bothers me, I couldn't care less.

If it'll kill rap I'm all for it (-1, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669650)

Because 'producers' who 'produce' beats are really just taking someone's work.

Re:If it'll kill rap I'm all for it (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669950)

Shh, you've gone against the culture of sharing* other people's work.

*taking

Help help! I'm being repressed! (-1, Troll)

lohphat (521572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669668)

The story goes on to say that many of the artists featured on the mixtapes would never have had the exposure and thus sales they had if DJ Drama had not featured them on a mix.
Then play by the rules and get a release beforehand.

Nowhere is a specific artist mentioned who claims to have been wronged by him. Additionally, the article states that mixtapes such as those made by DJ Drama are an accepted and integral part of rap music culture.
So is violence and mysogeny, so that makes it OK because of it's "part of the culture".

I'd rather you dropped the Misogyny... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670000)

Because while there IS misogeny about it's not as "prevalent" as people would have you believe.

In fact, there's a lot more misandry going about than there's misogyny going about these days.
All one has to do is open their eyes and look about at what's being done.

And, it doesn't make it any more okay because it's "part of the culture".

Oh, the Irony! (5, Funny)

jpetts (208163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669670)

DJ Drama (whose real name is Tyree Simmons) and Mr. Cannon were each charged with a felony violation of Georgia's Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization law(known as RICO) and held on $100,000 bond.

Re:Oh, the Irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670416)

they are being influenced by a corrupt organization alright...

Got Things Right (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669676)

For once, the RIAA got things right. If rap music isn't a crime, it should be.

What Confusion? (5, Insightful)

RegalBegal (742288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669692)

Dealing with the fucks down at the league office will always result in frustration.

"There are some people you just can't answer"

The RIAA are MONEY driving goon-thug-idiots. The music industry is run by accountants and executives. Most of them probably hate music unless it's Michael McDonald or something generic and safe like that. They have no bearing on anything meaningful as far as music is concerned. This organization is what's wrong with the music industry. That fact that it's an industry is a problem as well.

I'm not confused. I know exactly why. They are filthy examples of people and will do what they can to scrape up a buck or scare someone.

All part of a strategy (5, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669704)

This is part of an effort to "criminalize" Copyright Infringement. Currently it's mostly viewed as a somewhat hypothetical, tort issue by the general public, because most people who get into hot water over this are sued, not arrested.

Seeing people in the news being arrested for copying CDs turns that situation on its head. The whole image of an arrest, with the handcuffs, police with guns, threat to society etc, being associated with copyright infringement is something they really, really want to see. They'd like nothing better than for you to think hitting "copy" on your PC is exactly the same as walking into a Walmart and pocketing a jewel case, and especially for you to fear JAIL TIME over doing so.

Essentially they are fear mongering, here. They want people to honestly believe they can be arrested for burning a CD.

Re:All part of a strategy (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670178)

There are already crimes for certain types of copyright infringement! There's no plan! It's done!

Come on, people, know what you're talking about.

Re:All part of a strategy (3, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670580)

Congrats, you missed the point.

Yes, it's currently a criminal act to infringe a copyright, but the public doesn't perceive copyright infringement as a real crime, at least, not in the same way as it does shoplifting or drug dealing. This is about changing the perception of the crime of copyright infringement from something you get sued over if you're big-time, to something you get arrested for, just like a petty shoplifter.

Essentially they are trying to raise the public's perception of the gravity of the crime.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669706)

Maybe they should also start arresting bands that do cover songs at live shows... those works are copyrighted too, right? Let's get them all while we're at it, eh RIAA?

Re:hmm (5, Informative)

Suriyel (230254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669886)

A lot of venues (atleast smaller ones like bars) pay what is basically "music insurance". They pay a blanket fee to cover all the royalties that would be owed by any band they have in. Of course, this is insurance in the same vein as paying Vinny his money to keep your business from "accidentally" starting on fire, this week.

and while they're at it... (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669944)

Arrest me for getting a lift in a friends car, not paying for the listening permission to hear what is on his CD player and getting the song stuck in my head, then whistling it down the street, thus pirating illegally distributing whistle-tabs!

Two wrongs don't make a right (2, Insightful)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669718)

There are a whole host of things to complain about*, but the bottom line is he violated copyright law in order to make a profit. Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement. He decided to ignore the rules of copyright, so he has to deal with the consequences. If he was too dumb to know there might be consequences, sucks to be him.

* Dumb artists signing with big record labels, dumb artists signing away all their rights, record labels bankrolling some mixtapes but arresting the makers of others, etc.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669948)

You are 3 minutes away from being totally unpopular. For what it's worth I agree with you.
It doesn't matter how popular you make the original artist, if you aren't getting permission from the right people (in this case the RIAA) you have to be prepared to face the consequences.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670282)

what both of you fail is that it's called FAIR USE. You can mix tapes that way. it's legal and always has been. You have the right to reproduce PARTS of a copyrighted material. You can't do the whole thing, or even signifcant amounts. Weird Al is another example. Do you want to see them send out SWAT teams to arrest him as well?

Okay bad example as many artists would. But it is still fair use. I hope not only does this guy get free, but that he counter sues the RIAA for a couple hundred million and then donates the proceeds to the family you have had to pay off RIAA extortion. I am sorry. but suing someone for $500,000 dollars and then settling for only $2,000 is extortion.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670584)

This is not fair use, unless fair use has been rewritten to allow you to make 80 thousand backups and redistribute them to your closest friends and anyone who will pay. Also, Weird Al is a bad example to bring up. Parody and satire are long established and protected exemptions.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670186)

doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement.

Uhm...no. It is right for this guy to commit copyright infringement. In fact, in this digital age, pretty much any copyright infringement is ethically right! But in this particular case, it was right for a whole lot of other reasons as well.

If he was too dumb to know there might be consequences, sucks to be him.

I'm quite certain he was aware that he was operating in a legally murky area. Then again, even if the area was legally murky, he had the benefit of hindsight, as there were other people who had produced mixtapes before him, who did not get a SWAT team on their front door. Yeah, it sucks to be him, but nobody expects the spanish inquisition [youtube.com]

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670248)

Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement.

Uh, actually you do, accordingly the guys who set all this up. When the laws have become corrupt, it is the people's right to alter or to abolish them.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670382)

Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement.
It doesn't make it wrong, either. He's been charged under the RICO act. If that isn't morally repugnant to you, you're soft in the head.

Civil issue.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670518)

It doesn't make it wrong, either. He's been charged under the RICO act. If that isn't morally repugnant to you, you're soft in the head.

Civil issue.


I initially had misgivings when I saw RICO being invoked, but this is far more than your average teenager downloading a few songs. He was continually committing copyright infringement on a massive scale (80k discs!) to make a profit. It's the combination of massive scale and intent to profit that push it beyond a simple civil matter.

I got a $20 bill (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669768)

that says no one's ever seen you without makeup.

(and I'm sick of your tattoos)

"RIAA Arrests" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669816)

So, they have their own police force now or is this just more sensationalism?

81,000 discs confiscated (1, Insightful)

Tilzs (959354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669822)

81,000 discs confiscated and on the itunes store. Hardly "for promotional use only". He is a pirate and get what he deserves. Any real commercial mix compilations gets the tracks licensed from the copyright holding label. He gets what he deserves

Re:81,000 discs confiscated (2, Insightful)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670284)


He has been instrumental in the careers of rappers like Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne. He appears on the cover of the March issue of the hip-hop magazine XXL, alongside his friend and business partner T.I., the top-selling rapper of 2006.

It sounds like this guy is a very big name in his field. The 81,000 discs doesn't sound like a massive amount if you compare him to a radio station. It also says he has lots of unofficial recordings like outtakes and freestyles never meant to be published. For all we know it could include blank CD-Rs.

simple really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669824)

my guess, is that some or all of these artists invloved are not riaa affiliated artists, and/or are not major artists. therefore the riaa is upset they are not getting a cut of the action. no cut of the action, they want to bring the hammer down and stop it. basically they were seeing something becoming sucessful, and had no money coming in. independant artist hurt thier bottom line more than any piracy ever could. thats what i suspect is the case here... independant artists detract away potential buyers for riaa major artists.

RICO Charges? (4, Interesting)

Neovanglist (566939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669838)

He was prosecuted on RICO charges? As in, the same RICO that was designed to help fight mafia families? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_ and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act [wikipedia.org]

It's like the RIAA isn't even sure what to charge people with anymore...

Re:RICO Charges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670090)

In all fairness, using the RICO statute is more about prosecutors abusively widening the scope of the tools they're given than it is about the RIAA. You know - sort of like how the war on drugs, the war on terror, etcetera, all help to take away our rights and make it easier to prosecute/persecute anyone. Prosecutors are often not particularly ethical tools of the justice system.

Re:RICO Charges? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670234)

Shouldn't THEY be brought up on RICO charges, hm?

Re:RICO Charges? (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670272)

Yes, RICO makes sense. All you need is 2 predicate crimes in the furtherance of a criminal or corrupt organization to get hit with it. Since this is federal, unauthorized distribution of copyrighted work is a crime. I'm sure he's done it more than twice in the past twenty years, and he has suppliers and distribution channels. Bang, RICO.

Re:RICO Charges? (3, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670514)

RICO can apply to any felony carried out as part of a commerical enterprise. Since this guy was most certainly a commercial enterprise, accused of making money by illegally selling copyrighted music, I would say RICO is applicable.

This case is probably a mistake for the RIAA, but it certainly sounds like legally they are on firm ground. It is unfortunately that given our current copyright status quo, it doesn't seem like there is a good, legal way for him to work, despite the implied positive effect on the artists (and probably record labels) he is accused of ripping off.

The RIAA will likely say that even if artists were not being harmed, they are entiteled to some royalties (possibly correct, though I doubt any legal licensing would lead to that) it is important to not allow a "culture of piracy" to exist.

Interestingly enough, they probably have to push for criminal charges, since civil charges might not stick since the RIAA would have to show actual harm, which there allegedly is not. For the criminal case, you only have to show that the law was broken, which it probably was.

Creating music is tantamount to stealing! (4, Funny)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669840)

Of course, whenever you create music, you are actually stealing from music labels. Think about how much artists suffer when you make new music that someone in the industry could potentially have made and profited from. Will you not think of the arists?

Re:Creating music is tantamount to stealing! (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669998)

So playing other people's music is now creating? Interesting. I've been creating music my entire life and didn't even realize it!

Its simpler than all this seems... (5, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669916)

I read somewhere that the **AA are not about money, or even copyright infringement; they are trying to create scarcity where there is none. That artificial scarcity will then create a demand for content that ONLY the *AAs will be able to satiate. This is typically termed manipulating the market in most circles, but they have paid the lawmakers to make it look legal.

The only people who will continue to lose out in big ways are the content creators who sell their copyrights to big business like the **AAs of the world. Right now, we are seeing the beginning of content creators starting to distribute their products without the help of the **AAs of the world, and its working. The more that happens, and the more that we, the people with a clue, name the companies responsible for bad laws, jacked up prices, market manipulation... the more chance there is of John Q Public understanding what is happening and voting appropriately.

So, who is responsible? Sony? No, there are way more than a few. Here is the RIAA's board of directors:

Polly Anthony Geffen Records
Mitch Bainwol RIAA
Glen Barros Concord Records
Steve Bartels Island Records
Victoria Bassetti EMI Recorded Music
Jose Behar Universal Music Group
Tim Bowen SONY BMG
Bob Cavallo Buena Vista Music
Mike Curb Curb Records
Joe Galante SONY BMG
Ivan Gavin EMI Recorded Music
Charles Goldstuck RCA Music Group
Zach Horowitz Universal Music Group
Dave Johnson Warner Music Group
Craig Kallman The Atlantic Group
Lawrence Kenswil Universal Music Group
Michael Koch Koch Entertainment
Mel Lewinter Universal Music Group
Kevin Liles Warner Music Group
Alan Meltzer Wind-up Records
Deirdre McDonald SONY BMG
David Munns EMI Recorded Music
Jason Flom Virgin Records America
Tom Silverman Tommy Boy Records
Andy Slater Capitol Records
Rob Stringer SONY BMG
Tom Whalley Warner Bros. Records

http://www.riaa.com/about/leadership/board.asp [riaa.com] [riaa.com] Board of directors

If you want to know if someone's music is safe from **AA, try http://www.riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] [riaaradar.com]

I am certain that there are plenty of other resource on the Internet as well. So, lets all join together and try to make sure that content creators understand what the **AAs are doing to their business... namely killing it and any chance of real revenue.

Not confusing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17669932)

>> His arrest is confusing on several levels.

No it's not. What he did was illegal.

You must confuse easily, silly boy.

Re:Not confusing (3, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670380)

I take it, that you never violated any laws, like these:
You may not drive barefooted.
Dominoes may not be played on Sunday.
It is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church.
Putting salt on a railroad track may be punishable by death.
Boogers may not be flicked into the wind.
It is legal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street if you have a lantern attached to the front of your automobile.
You may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time.
Masks may not be worn in public.
Women are able to retain all property they owned prior to marriage in the case of divorce. However, this provision does not apply to men.
And these are only for Alabama [dumblaws.com] !

My point is, just because something is illegal, it is not immoral and it should not automatically follow that people agree with the particular law or usag e of the law! Because you see, there are plenty of laws in effect, but not _enforced_.

its about that time (2, Interesting)

jeremycobert (795832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669946)

for years these wannabe musicians (hip-hop DJ's) have been stealing tracks and music from people who actually make music and then going back and paying them after the fact.i hate to be on the side of the RIAA, but this is one time i am.

Re:its about that time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670612)

They havn't been stealing!!! (and for starters no physical item as been taken)
to be sampled and mixed into a track is a great sign of respect, something that true music artist (bowie) appreciates!

The whole rave scene in the UK was born from sampling great rifts, I lost count of the number of times (be it radio, film sample) where I just went "wow that where it is from!!!"

Then look at Stan by Eminem, who did he sample....

RICO and not infringement, this is really serious. (5, Informative)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17669988)

So this is guy is being held on RICO charges and I am assuming that the RIAA is using the provision that allows private parties to sue. They are saying that there is an enterprise involved in the direct theft of material? This is quite different than them going after grandma and one computer.This is racketeering and a serious federal indictment.

But it will be funny when the defendants get to cross examine and no one will say they have been infringed upon except the RIAA itself. Maybe we might get a Johnny Dangerously quote in the court?

I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the panel: You lousy corksuckers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves.

From wikipedia.org:

Under RICO, a person or group who commits any two of 35 crimes--27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes--within a 10-year period and, in the opinion of the US Attorney bringing the case, has committed those crimes with similar purpose or results can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." The act also contains a civil component that allows plaintiffs to sue for triple damages. When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision is intended to force a defendant to plead guilty before indictment. [citation needed] There is also a provision for private parties to sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers." There must also be an "enterprise." The defendant(s) are not the enterprise, in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise. This lawsuit, like all Federal civil lawsuits, can take place in either Federal or State court.

I agree ... arrest him (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670068)

So this guy had 81,000 discs (containing other people's works?), presumably sold them for profit (he had 4 vehicles !!) and what, we're complaining that he was nabbed?

Screw him for getting wealthy on other people's talent and hard work. Would he try to stop me if I tried to drive off in one of his 4 cars ?

"before the raid, DJ Drama ... [was] sent cease-and-desist letters from a local lawyer."

So he's not only selfish and greedy, he's arrogant as well.

"most of DJ Drama's mixtapes begin with enthusiastic endorsements from the artists themselves."

1. Most (not all) artists !!
2. Does he have written proof? Did a naive artist nod stupidly and say "oh yeah, go ahead"? If so, then fine, they both should have confirmed that with a contract. (In particular the DJ, who left himself exposed.)
3. Did SOME of the artist need the okay of their studio producers? (You know who I mean, the companies that put their cash at risk by backing them?)

I'm all for "Fair Use". Now, "Fair Use" doesn't exist in and of itself, it's a notion created by us (humans). And its extent is defined by us (and varies by country / jurisdiction). But this bloke went too far.

If you disagree with a law -- and choose to break it -- it's just tough luck if / when you get caught.

(Ironic: just noticed that my captcha is the word "divisive".)

Promotional Use (4, Insightful)

teeloo (766817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670120)

It looks like Drama was selling these Cds in large quantities. The is a huge difference between making a "promotional" CD and handing them out as a demo of your DJing skills and making a mixed CD and selling them to the public. Mixed DJ sets are very popular in the underground electronic music scene as well (house, techno etc.), where most of the artists are independent and will NEVER be available via the normal big record label channels. The problem with what Drama was doing is that the hip hop genre is mainstream, and the major labels notice. I pray that this will never happen in the electronic dance music scene.

Re:Promotional Use (3, Insightful)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670336)

I agree with you. I've always found it quite annoying when DJ's sell their mix tapes/CDs. To me it seems that it's one thing to be creating a mix and wanting people to hear it, but quite another to go and sell it without getting the requisite permissions.

Another point that I wanted to bring up though, is that the summary talks about the tapes being full of artists that "would never have had the exposure" without being on the mix tapes. If these are underground, unknown artists we are talking about, why is the RIAA interested? I thought the RIAA only represented those big huge record labels whose artists are advertised everywhere.

Is this a case of the RIAA trying to charge someone for breaking copyright that doesn't even belong to them?

In any case, I still think that it's totally unpardonable to be selling mixtapes without permission. Imho the practise brings a dark cloud over the otherwise well-meaning gesture of creating compilations of your favorite tracks.

all i have to say is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670184)

I'M HARD LIKE THE STREETS

who cares if he's in jail, 95% of people in jail in Atlanta are black. He'll just get more demo tapes from rappers who are in jail, they'll get out, and "DJ Drama" will have new artists once he gets out after someone sells enough cocaine to come up with the bail money.

Give DJ Drama's wanna-be black ass a big slice of waddymelon, a bucket of KFC, and some white prostitutes.

The law was there before this happened (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670190)

You didn't look at, or ask for the law to be changed before this happened, so quit whining when it was implemented.

OT - rap 'artist'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670198)

Why are rappers always specified as 'artists', when pretty much any other artist is called by their profession, i.e. guitarist, painter, sculpter, singer, etc? If you consider rap an art, then calling them rappers should be enough. Just a beef :)

Further proof... (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670212)

This article does a great job in highlighting one of the biggest flaws in the RIAA's logic...

Those who download a couple songs off a peer to peer network are more likely to do one or all of the following:

a) Purchase more music from the artist
b) Attend a performance featuring said artists
c) Recomend said artist to a friend

The more exposure an artist receives, the more money an artist will make. In fact artists make more money off of live performances than they do off of record sales. Personally, I have bought more CD's because I illegally downloaded some of the songs on the album first. Why would I spend money on something if it was crap. I am simply researching the product before I buy so that I don't waste my money. These mixtapes do the exact same thing that an "illegal" fileshareing network does. The record companies should be praising them, just as they used to praise mixtapes. Not sure what happened to that though.

Call in the SW1s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670216)

Time to take this fight to the man.

biting the hand that feeds (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670246)

This is the kind of stuff that will ruin the RIAA, they are poisoning their water hole. If the RIAA doesn't offer the artists anything other than lawsuits and slavery they will find a different way. Obviously, the artists can handle a certain amount of contractual servitude so long as they get something out of it, but when the RIAA begins feeding on it's upcoming artists there is no longer an incentive to sign, in fact there is a strong incentive to do something different. I feel bad for DJ Drama and hope he comes out of this ok, but I think this provides a very clear line for ways of distributing your art, you can offer it on the Internet on your own terms, or you can jump through hoops for a record label (hoping you don't get eaten by the sharks). The RIAA is forcing artists into the same space

remember what happened to danger mouse? (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670290)

he was the dj who mixed the beatles and jay-z a few years back, making the completely unauthorized grey album (the white album mixed with the black album, get it? get it?)

the riaa had a fit. result: lots of press for this guy

problem was, he was a nobody before the riaa got upset about the grey album. in other words, if they had ignored the grey album, it would have remained obscure and esoteric and mostly unknown except to him and some friends and some music gadflies. but because of the riaa atttempts at squelching the album, it gained in massive popularity

now danger mouse is half of the chart topping group gnarls barkley ("crazy" from summer 2006). that would have NEVER HAVE HAPPENED if the riaa had just ignored this guy. he would have had no career if the riaa hadn't pointed a spotlight at him (well, obviously he still had a chance at stardom on his own, the point is, it is now point of historical fact that it was riaa's actions that made this guy famous)

in other words, the riaa coming after you if you are an artist IS GOOD FOR YOUR CAREER. my adive for any budding pop music artists: DO YOUR BEST TO PISS OFF THE RIAA. you will be guarranteed stardom! idiots

this dj, dj drama, he should personally embrace and kiss the feet of these RIAA lawyers: they just made his career. this move of there's is guaranteed to put millions in this guys pocket a few years down the line due to his massively inflated exposure now. additionally, as a hip hop artist, anything that gets you in trouble with authority increases your street cred and your fan base. sure its not slinging crack and shooting at the cops, but its something. even us dorks at slashdot know about the guy now. do you honestly think any of you would ever know this guys name if it weren't for the RIAA? exactly my point

the lesson?: the RIAA can't do anything except hurt themselves and reward their enemies, no matter what they do. they're extinct. every thrash of the mammoth's trunk in an attempt to live only sinks them deeper into the tar pit

what totally sad pathetic losers. any attempt to censor something you don't like only gives whatever you don't like massive appeal and PR

true about angry fundamentalist moslems and an obscure danish newspaper, true about rudy giuliani and a profane painting of the madonna, and true about the riaa and any mix artist they go after. stupid, pathetic, predictable. it's like a golden sociological law or something: attempts at censorship/ outlaw backfires on you and just creates more exposure for whatever you are trying to block, makes your target a hero, a martyr

you think people would learn, but they never do. drunk on power and greed, clouding the mind and reason. morons

What are the odds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670334)

...a guy that can't even put his hat on the right way around [nytimes.com] manages to organize a winning defense?

It's a good job he got publicity is all I have to say.

Good Business Move... (2, Insightful)

aitikin (909209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670458)

I'd have to say this is a great business move, especially if the major media really picks up on stories like this. After all, if they can sue anyone who makes a mix tape and distributes it without the label's consent, then they can effectively prevent rap and hip hop from being made by anyone outside of the RIAA.

Gotta love how the music industry has become just that, an industry.

Legal reform for gray areas? (3, Insightful)

uqbar (102695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670462)

This is one of those cases where the industry itself stand to shoot itself in the foot. Arguably a better solution is to allow a legal scheme to pay a royalty to use a song in certain contexts (samples, mixtapes, and other creative re-purposing scenarios). While you can license the right to perform a song, no such similar scheme exists (outside of radio and music venues) to allow royalties to be paid for use of things like samples. Because each needs to be negotiated one by one, the legal encumbrance becomes so great that sometimes going the "For Promotional Use Only" route is the only way to go. While this is clearly copyright infringement, it also is often a creative act onto itself.

While the music industry is hardly ready to embrace this (and indeed looks to be going the opposite way with laws they are pushing regulating internet radio) arguably reform in this area would open new models for everyone in the music industry to profit.

Big Brother Is Listening (1)

kodec (1011233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670508)

So how long before we all have barcodes tattooed to our foreheads and RFID chips implanted in our hands by the RIAA so they can know every musical anything we come into contact with the second said contact happens, and bill/sue us for it appropriately?

rap music culture (1)

PigIronBob (885337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17670524)

Now there are 3 words you don't see together often.

I am surprised it took that long, if I was one of these recording artists I would have sued long ago.

Why would cops want to arrest people with talent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17670626)

You haven't seen Mulholland Drive have you? Every person with any kind of programming skills is just as in danger of going to jail for no reason.
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