Last month when it was announced that the RIAA was hiring the former head of the ATF, I joked about how the copyright cops might soon be busting down your door. What I didn't realize was that it's no joke, and it's already happening. Found on Slashdot is the news that the RIAA has been hiring ex-law enforcement officials, outfitting them with police-style outfits, including black "raid" vests with yellow lettering stenciled on the back to spell RIAA, and sending them out to scare unauthorized vendors of CDs and confiscating what they find. While I have no sympathy for those selling such CDs, this does seem to go well over the line. The RIAA claims that it's very effective, and they don't mean for the vendors to actually think they're police - but the effect suggests otherwise. In that case, you could make the argument that they're falsely impersonating law enforcement officials and stealing the CDs they take. They do make the vendor sign an "incident report" indicating that confiscating the CDs is "voluntary" - but if you're scared to death you're about to be arrested, it doesn't seem very voluntary.
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