Make Mix Tapes And The RIAA May Send A SWAT Team To Bust Down Your Door?

from the gone-too-far dept

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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Comments on “Make Mix Tapes And The RIAA May Send A SWAT Team To Bust Down Your Door?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Econemy of Force

The thing that is really upsetting here is the idea that the Special Weapons Assault Team, intended to take down high risk threats, was used to raid a vinyl spinning DJ’s studio. I’ve known several DJs in my days and withoout fail, none of them were armed to the teeth.
This shows a blatant abuse of “contacts” on someone’s part. It’s obvious the RIAA was trying to scare people off with an image of gun toting storm troopers raiding the home of anyone who downloads music. Sadly, someone in the RIAA was clearly able to use their influence to “pirate” the SWAT team for a few hours and have them do their PR stunt.
I wouldn’t expect any better of the RIAA.
Sadly, I did expect better from the Atlanta officials…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Econemy of Force

Expect better from Atlanta officials? You’re joking, right? Atlanta’s officials and services, probably like most cities now, are completely available to anyone for the right amount of money. No doubt the RIAA slipped the correct person the correct amount of under-the-table cash and is able to get anything they desire. And while known very high-level drug dealers get a free pass from the APD and can conduct their business with near immunity, the APD goes looking for “illegal sex toys” and perp-walking store clerks for selling them.

Anonymous Coward says:

What I don't understand

This is all stems from a Atlanta Fox News Article which shows that a Studio was raided for making counterfeit CD’s (Which can be seen on the atlanta article) They did show some dj-mix cd’s being boxed up as well. And they did say they were being monitored for online-cd piracy for a while. I never seen mention of RIAA or anything

be free says:

Where their power is from...

…is generated by millions of dollars in lobbying, that has changed the easily fooled public to give up rights they used to have to now actually think it’s immoral to share your own music with friends.

At one point the American government used its power to let the Secret Police from Sweden raid a company that stored bit-torrent servers in its basement. The problem was that there was no law suite, and that torrent networks was not evel illegal in Sweden at the time (I’m not sure if it is now). Apart from the 20 or so torrent servers, the police also confiscated over 120 other servers the company hosted for clients. They still haven’t gotten them back after 2 years, and many of the client companies had to close down.

To this day there is no charge, and the day after the raid the movie inudstry magnate that had pushed for the raid declared “mission accomplished”. In effect, the movie industry used a foreing nations police force to commit illegal sabotage in their name. How’s that for power.

MikeT (user link) says:

Doesn't surprise me

Anyone ever read Radley Balko of theAgitator fame’s blog posts on the subject of SWAT abuse? Click that link for a Google search of his site to get started. Here is a formal study that he has done on the subject for Cato as well. SWAT units need to be scaled back. There are too many of them and they are too often abused. Very few jurisdictions actually have a legitimate need for them in the first place.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

Lobbyists?!! Of course!

when are the technology and gaming industries going to get lobbyists? i mean, both industries are huge, and they should be tossing their weight and money around and start lobbying with politicians to get their agenda’s passed.

not to mention that the public in general needs their own lobbyists to watch out for the publics best interests. that’s what’s wrong, the public doesn’t have any lobbyists to pay off the politicians. silly public paying all those taxes when our money should be used to pay off politicians.

Teed Off says:

Re: Counterfeit CDs

actually, the dj in question, DJ Drama, is maybe the top dj in the hiphop market. The promo cd’s that he makes for upcoming and major label artists, are made with the cooperation of said artists and break unrealeased records that have been supplied by the labels and the artists themselves. maybe the RIAA needs to coordinate with the labels and the artists before deploying their Gestapo like tactics.

ex machina says:


What really gets me here is the precedent this sets for civil law. What a lot of people don’t understand about copyright violations is that they are not “crimes,” but “torts.” This means that your crime is not against the state or the public, but an individual; and the government will uphold a contract or lawsuit, but does not take on the responsibility to arrest and prosecute. It is up to the offended party to go through civil court (sue). But here we don’t see that happening.

If a member of the RIAA stole a song I had written, would I be able to get the local police department to raid their facilities? Not a chance in hell. If the US is going to provide law enforcement in civil matters, they should do it for everyone, not just the RIAA.

Livinglegend says:

Re: unprecedented

The MPAA did those deeds to me, they got police that dressed like homeland security in black ski masks from the local precinct to obtain and execute a search. The MPAA was also searching my goods in my home and writing down notes on paper unsupervised wandering around.

The MPAA pretexted my personal info by lying to obtain what they said was probable cause. The pretext to search in a police state.

Now, years later I finally hear from the state, they want to pick up the case now and impose martial law on me over goods they dont even own. Marks not register in their name, “DOG-Marks” of tv stations. They clearly have an agenda to uphold the interests of corportae america over its citizens.
We’ll see what $20,000 dollar lawyers are worth now.

Then, when you read the 2nd amendment of the constitution, it clearly says, the right of the people to posses and bear FIREARMS shall NOT BE INFRINGED.
But felony charges revoke your 2nd amendment, so is it a lie written in our constitution or has fed and state gov infringed on that right as it is written? Now people who have depression are not allowed to buy firearms per the newest gun bill and the VA tech shootings.

The DMCA they say has stripped “fair use” from the citizens. Thats only cuz no judge has completely shut that unconstitutional law down, they use it as a pretext to search, then the prosecutors stack the charges up trying to get an easy plea bargain.

They didnt like me distributing the 911 truth dvds, alex jones documentaries, he wants everybody to see them and urges people to copy and distribute.

Counterfeit trademarks charges 3 different classes, so what are they really doing?

My public servents, prositilizing for the new world order in repression of my liberties.

after 911 is exposed as the gov sponsored terrorism it is, all the media companies cuz they are propaganda selling the lies to america should all be arrested.

American citizens can clean up all the corruption in our police and gov, once 911 is understood, they have no chance. The MPAA, GOOD-BYE YOUR IN JAIL TOO.

Ron PAUL for president and he’ll really change these miscarriages of justice we have to deal with from our public servents.

Wish us luck, lol

NoReply says:

Did Anyone Here........

write to your Senator and Representatives? Blogs like this are great for bringing out the hand-wringers, who dash off a lot of drivel, like the LeftWingNutJob post. But, letter writing and emailing Congress DOES make a difference.

Take a look at the American Family Association website and learn how letter writing campaigns actually work. Don’t believe it? Then expect more stories like this one.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

Anonymous Coward

You know it’s hard to take anything seriously from someone who doesn’t bother to take a few seconds to add a fill out the name and email address fields before posting. Smacks of someone with something to hide. Like say an RIAA spin doctor? Come on…
Ignoring THIS article the RIAA has been allowed to do conduct shakedowns much like the MAfia does. I mean come on telling a college student to drop out of college to pay them is crazy. This whole situation makes me sick. I say power to the pirates!!! The RIAA is only garnering more sympathy and support for those they lable pirates. I say we should all burn an “illegal” copy of a CD or DVD and pass it on. The RIAA (Recording Lables and Studios) should pay for there mafioso tactics.

Law Broken says:


If you watch the report…it takes some digging to find a local news report about it…you’ll see that the men were arrested for violations of RICO, which is a criminal offense.

This is reportedly an organized crime syndicate trafficking in illegal goods. This was not just a couple of DJs making remixes.

No civil rights were affected. The RIAA convinced a judge that a crime was occurring, got him/her to issue a warrant and the local sheriffs executed the warrant and discovered over 50,000 counterfeit CDs.

The bloggers are obviously doing a great job of reporting the facts of this case.

Holms says:


What’s interesting here is the language. In the Atlanta news program the announcer repeatedly used the term counterfeit CD’s. What they are in actuality are original mixes created by the DJ’s composed of other artists’ works.

It begs the question whether a mix is original work, which I think it is as it takes knowledge and talent to blend hiphop rythms in a manner to inspire the booty shaking.

Another interesting aspect of this case is the fact that these DJ’s are loved by most of the artists they are mixing!

Anonymous Coward says:

This is nothing new

Few people today know of the war against FILM COLLECTORS that movie studios pursued in the late 70’s-early 80’s. They persuaded FBI agents to personally visit known movie film collectors. Some had their collections seized. Some of the FBI people were later given cushy jobs at such agencies as the defunct Film Security Office. No warrents were issued, the FBI people just showed up and scarred the crap out of the collectors. Since the number of people collecting film is/was much much smaller than the number of people burning CDs and DVDs, this early “war” is pretty much forgotten.

It's about says:


The real story here is bloggers taking a news event, adding their spin, exaggerating a few facts (heck, their beholden to nobody…they can say whatever they want…the beauty of the internet, right?) and publish it as truth.

If THIS story is of that quality, how many others that come from grassroots bloggers can you expect me to trust?

File this RIAA conspiracy theory story under “Heck, I read it on the internet, it must be true.”

nils says:

swat to break up remix arist

Hmm I think the point missing is they used SWAT team. Next time my next door neighbor has a remix party I’ll call the RIAA and get them to used the SWAT team. Instead of just calling the police at 4AM. I’m sure they will find some illegal drugs or something and Copyright violations so it’s all fine. I guess the RIAA was worried the would have time to flush the CD’s down the toilet by serving a search warrent the old fashion way. all 50000 of them

Anonymous Coward says:

RIAA ,a recording industry trade group paid for by Geffen Records, Island Records, Universal Music Group, Concord Records, EMI Recorded Music, SONY BMG, Buena Vista Music, Curb Records, RCA Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, The Atlantic Group, Koch Entertainment, Wind-up Records, Virgin Records America, Tommy Boy Records, Capitol Records

not collectors says:

not artists

Watch the news report. These guys are neither collectors nor were they making remixes with the CDs. They were trafficking in illegally manufactured CDs. This was not original content. These were simply copied CDs and DVDs they were selling to support failing careers as DJs.
Wake up…not everything every blogger writes is true.

PS Follow-up reports today are indicating that the story of the arrest and SWAT team usage was “partially fabricated by paid online bloggers for promotional purposes by the arrested individuals.”
So, nyah.

Tyshaun says:

from the gone-too-far department indeed....


So the tagline for this article is “from the gone-too-far” department”. Have you gone-too-far in misrepresenting the severity of the charges against the DJ. Reading some of the responses it seemed relevent to mention that this DJ may have been part of a larger network and there may be federal RICO charges present.

Whatever happened to balanced reporting. Then again, I guess techDirt has never professed to being an unbiased entity so pehaps my angst is based on flawed assumptions.

Reed says:

Re: Click the link

“And please, don’t ever, EVER use the term “reporting” when discussing items in Techdirt. It’s blogging, not “reporting.””

Agreed, but it is not like “reporting” is the bastion of truth nowadays. It is more like how big companies blog their truth to the masses. Good impartial reporting does not even exist anymore IMHO (Besides it would be boring anyways).

Michael says:

RICO Abuse

“RICO by Law Broken on Jan 18th, 2007 @ 9:59am

If you watch the report…it takes some digging to find a local news report about it…you’ll see that the men were arrested for violations of RICO, which is a criminal offense.”

RICO abuse is a whole other can of worms, when they passed it, it was alledgedly only for use on mobsters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: RICO Abuse

“RICO abuse is a whole other can of worms, when they passed it, it was alledgedly only for use on mobsters.”

Just remember, whenever the government creates new laws to prosecute a particular group of people they will inevitabley use those laws on everyone. Thats why all these new terrorist laws scare the sh*t out of me.

Tyshaun says:

Re: Re: RICO Abuse

“RICO abuse is a whole other can of worms, when they passed it, it was alledgedly only for use on mobsters.”

Just remember, whenever the government creates new laws to prosecute a particular group of people they will inevitabley use those laws on everyone. Thats why all these new terrorist laws scare the sh*t out of me.

You speak the truth and it makes me wonder why so many people let these things happen, cheerfully even, and not even lose a bit of sleep over it.

Bill says:


It’s staggering how people lose perspective in this matter. I don’t know the specifics of the case so I’ll be very cautious about it. But we seem to be dealing with guys who play with CDs. Maybe they steal the CDs. If they do, that’s a bad thing. However, this is a matter the RIAA should report to the police for the police to sort out and the court to decide. You know, the whole ‘rule of law’ thing.
Sending in a SWAT team [which, I assure you, only intimidates the local population. These guys are amateurs. I’ve seen the real deal, the real deal works on serious crime. Not guys screwing around with music] is a gross abuse of power. There is no other way to put it. If it is really no longer possible to have the police investigate infractions then your society has some serious problems. That a private organisation could request the use of public resources to do their dirty work, in a case of such trivial importance is a -major- problem.
I don’t care even if this was a RICO case. Why would the RIAA be offended by that? Weren’t they convicted twice for price fixing of CDs? Isn’t that the kind of thing the maffia does? I don’t recall reading about any SWAT team beating down the door of RIAA for price fixing of CDs, which has cost everybody buying them a lot of real money.
The United States now has private corporations order attacks on citizens using inappropriate and absolutely disproportionate public force. You should worry about that. Next thing you know your supboena is served at gun point.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Master copy?

The Georgia law says you have to have the permission of hte owner of the master copy. that would mean that any copying is legal under Georgian law, provided you own the disk you copy from. The law about putting your own name on a s producer would not apply since you are not producer, only publisher. You’re laughing, mate.

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