Since When Is Driving With Infringing DVDs A Crime?
from the this-is-a-good-question dept
Last year, we pointed out that the RIAA was going around telling district attorneys and other law enforcement folks that they should start looking to see if they could use “piracy” charges as a front to get search warrants of suspected drug houses when there wasn’t enough evidence to get a warrant having to do with drugs. It seems that some in law enforcement are following through on that. Michael Scott points us to a troubling lawsuit involving just such a situation. Apparently, narcotics officers were told to try to pull over a certain vehicle on any sort of traffic infraction, on the belief that there were drugs in the vehicle. While there was a tiny amount of marijuana, it wasn’t enough to do anything. However… there was a big box of what turned out to be counterfeit DVDs. The guy was arrested and a warrant was issued to search his house — and eventually he was charged with copyright infringement for the DVDs. The guy argued that the search of his car and house were a violation, but the link above includes an important point by Shourin Sen:
Mere possession of infringing DVDs isn’t illegal. You can drive around with a truck full of them. You just can’t reproduce or distribute ten or more infringing copies of a copyrighted work which have a total retail value of more than $2,500. If it wasn’t the marijuana, what in fact was the Defendant arrested for? And was there probable cause to search the defendants house based only on the possession of material he was legally allowed to carry?
These are all good questions…