Three years ago, we were a bit surprised that the RIAA had hired a former director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and jokingly (we thought!) suggested that perhaps the RIAA was getting ready to bust down some doors. Not long after that, we were dismayed to hear that the RIAA had taken to dressing up foot soldiers in uniforms that made them look like they were a part of the FBI or some other law enforcement agency in order to intimidate street vendors. When that wasn't enough, Hollywood lobbyists pushed to have the FBI play the role of enforcer, even having them raid a school at one point. Now, it looks like the RIAA has a SWAT team at its disposal as well. Apparently a federal SWAT team "assisted" the RIAA in raiding the studio of a DJ in Atlanta. If you're familiar with DJ culture, you know that making mixes is a big part of what they do -- and while it may represent a gray area in legal terms, it hardly seems like the type of thing that requires a SWAT team to bust in (the SWAT team's argument that they often find drugs at such places is meaningless here, since they didn't find any drugs). DJ mixes are designed to help promote the DJ -- and, if anything, probably do an excellent job building up much more interest in the music being played as well. If the RIAA was really upset by it (despite the free publicity), there's no reason they couldn't file a civil suit, rather than bringing in a SWAT team. Maybe next time they'll bring Shaquille O'Neal along as well.
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