Wow. It's been obvious to plenty of people for quite some time that the RIAA and the MPAA don't much care about things like free speech and due process rights afforded to people under the Constitution (see COICA and the PROTECT IP Act). But, I hadn't realized they'd gone so far as to blatantly disregard something like the 4th Amendment. Obviously, as we've been discussing lately, it seems like all three branches of the federal government have decided to crush the 4th Amendment
, but they usually try to at least pretend that they're paying attention to the Constitution.
Not any more, apparently.
The RIAA has been pushing the state of California to pass a new law that would allow completely warrantless searches for law enforcement
, allowing them to enter and search any CD or DVD manufacturing plant without either notice or a court order.
Yes, let's repeat that: the RIAA is pushing a law that would let law enforcement, without any oversight, without any probable cause, without any notice, enter and search any company premises that involves pressing CDs or DVDs, in order to assure that they're legal. Oh, and if said law enforcement discovers repeat violations, fines can be up to $250,000.
The RIAA claims that the 4th Amendment doesn't apply here because of all the recent attacks on the 4th Amendment by the courts:
The RIAA argued that courts had carved out 4th Amendment exceptions already. So far, it said, warrantless searches have been allowed at such businesses as automobile junkyards and repair shops, mines, gun and liquor stores, nursing homes, massage parlors, pawn shops and wholesale fish dealers.
The common trait, the trade group contended, was that the businesses were in "closely regulated" industries in which "the pervasiveness and regularity of the government's regulation reduces the owner's expectation of privacy in his business records."
It gets worse. The RIAA's Marcus Cohen honestly makes this sound like it's no big deal:
"We're literally talking about walking into a plant, walking up to the line and ensuring that, indeed, the discs are in compliance," he said. "I don't think the scope of the search is something a regulator needs to be worried about."
Oh really? And how about the RIAA member labels? How about, in exchange, they let some of us walk into their offices, take a look at their books and ensure that their royalty payments to artists are in compliance? I don't think the scope of such a review is anything to be worried about, right?
And, here's the crazy thing. Despite numerous legal experts saying that the bill is almost certainly unconstitutional, it sounds like it has a decent chance of passing. It's sponsored by California state Senator Alex Padilla and has already been approved by two separate committees, and will be heard on the Senate floor on Monday. If it passes there, it'll go to the Assembly. You can see the full text of the bill, SB 550
at that link, or embedded below.
It's really an astounding showing of the sense of entitlement of the RIAA that it feels that the 4th Amendment shouldn't apply. The RIAA and its member labels should be ashamed of themselves.