Secret Service, RIAA Raid N.Y. Pirate Ring

Volume CIII, No. 2February, 2003

The U.S. Secret Service, assisted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), conducted a raid on a music-piracy facility Dec. 9 in New York, culminating in what the trade group describes as the largest ever seizure in the U.S. of CD-burning equipment.

The raid – which followed a two-month investigation into the operation on 37th Street in Queens – uncovered 35,000 finished CD-R’s, 10,000 DVD’s, 421 CD-R burners, a high-end color copier, and other equipment.

Three individuals were arrested and face charges of trafficking in counterfeit labels, criminal copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting.

The Queens operation was the largest supplier of pirated music to individual vendors, retail locations, and distribution centers on Canal Street in Manhattan, according to the RIAA. The trade group says the facility had an estimated annual capacity of 6 million discs and the potential to cost the legitimate music industry $90 million per year. Approximate 25 percent of product seized was Latin music.

Local 802 strongly supports copyright enforcement. See the President’s Report in the December Allegro for the union’s most recent statement. The AFM is a member of the MUSIC (Music United for a Strong Internet Copyright) Coalition.

This article ©2002 VNU Business Media Inc. Used with permission from Billboard.