California tightens up law on low level copyright infringements

April 2006

Record labels 

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new law cracking down on the sale of counterfeit CDs. The new law reduces the threshold for felony criminal sales of pirated CDs from 1,000 copies down to 100. “Intellectual property rights and creativity are bedrocks of the California economy,” Schwarzenegger said after signing the bill adding that “This bill makes it easier for authorities to crack down on the rip-off artists who illegally copy and sell music CDs.” Assembly member Cohn’s Recording Crimes bill AB 64 passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee with unanimous bipartisan support. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) both praised the decision, saying that lowering the threshold to 100 units will make it much more difficult for CD pirates to balance their need for illegal inventory with the risk of being caught and facing serious consequences. “Every time a pirated CD is sold at a flea market, street-side table or retail outlet, the works of many talented artists, record label employees, writers, technicians, designers and producers are stolen,” said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA. “This law ensures that thieves threatening the livelihoods of those in the music industry will face much greater risk of being prosecuted and appropriately punished. This law will make thieves think twice about peddling stolen music.” He added, “It is critical that this activity be treated for what it is – dealing in stolen property and profiting from it. And that must come with serious consequences.” A statement from the RIAA and NARM says that in 2005, more than one million pirated music CDs were seized in California. More than 1,200 arrests were made related to those seizures.

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