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RIAA Arrests Pro Artist for Making Mixtapes 426

Posted by Zonk
from the you-are-doing-this-all-wrong dept.
Maximum Prophet writes "The RIAA is now going after mixtapes; specifically, the well-known mixtapes of rap artist DJ Drama. From the article: 'On Tuesday night he was arrested with Don Cannon, a protégé. The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for.' The story goes on to say that many of the artists featured on the mixtapes would never have had the exposure and thus sales they had if DJ Drama had not featured them on a mix. Nowhere is a specific artist mentioned who claims to have been wronged by him. Additionally, the article states that mixtapes such as those made by DJ Drama are an accepted and integral part of rap music culture. His arrest is confusing on several levels."
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RIAA Arrests Pro Artist for Making Mixtapes

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:25PM (#17669562) Journal

    Wow, only 3 articles later, and more media industry trampling. Now the trampling is on artists (the mixers).

    On a personal level, I've always had mixed feelings about hiphop and mixing from other artists, especially when used without permission. But at a gut level I tend to agree it's a different kind of creativity and creation, and the end result is exposure of old (and new) music in ways never heard before. The final net result is positive for all parties involved.

    The research I was able to do showed pretty clearly using other artists' work in mixes is tacitly allowed with a wink. The artists getting additional exposure are getting free advertising. (I'd be happy to know if there are artists out there who really don't want their art in others' mixes.

    This clearly underscores the RIAA's hypocrisy in that their thesis includes the tenet they are out to protect the artists, but if more exposure, and ultimately more happy consumers and sellers all around doesn't fit the definition of "protection", I'm at a loss.

    In the meantime unknown artists who may have never seen the light of day get world-wide exposure. Sales across the genre, and from the borrowed genre (I just had to go out and get the Steppenwolf, after hearing the mix with "Magic Carpet Ride") go up. Everybody could be happy.

    But I keep forgetting it doesn't seem to be about being happy (on all levels: aesthetic, profit), it's about power and control. The RIAA wants to control something they feel slipping out of their hands and they seem more desparate every day.

    I keep thinking it'd be interesting to organize some loosely structured boycott or activity against the RIAA, but as I mentioned in my very recent post [slashdot.org] the irritation factor alone may be enough to push consumers away.

    I'm always reminded of a favorite Peanuts cartoon [darkknight.ca] (kudos to slashdotter Patrick Furlong for finding that old cartoon for me) where the RIAA behaves much like Lucy... they want "us" to have fun, but give us minimal leash to do so... and even then when they see we've figured a way to have fun with so little leash, they want to take that away too. Stupid gits!

    • by MustardMan (52102)
      your favorite peanuts cartoon website is loading the comic, then immediately redirecting to the frontpage of the website. Very annoying.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by questionlp (58365)
      yagu wrote:

      This clearly underscores the RIAA's hypocrisy in that their thesis includes the tenet they are out to protect the artists, but if more exposure, and ultimately more happy consumers and sellers all around doesn't fit the definition of "protection", I'm at a loss.

      I think "protect the artists" should be interpreted as: protecting their profits and control over their artists that have signed to the labels covered under the RIAA.

      Independent artists and labels that are not under the RIAA umbrella are n

      • by jythie (914043) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:54PM (#17670168)
        I think that part of this issue is that they want to be the single source of exposure for their artists, so anyone else that helps them out is a potential problem.

        A bit like drug dealers actually.... make sure your people are dependent on you, make sure they can't get what they want anywhere else, shoot any other dealers on your turf....
        • by monoqlith (610041) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:20PM (#17670794)
          Not a bit like drug dealers...exactly like drug dealers...The RIAA is trying to be the middle man in an agreement that's just between a grassroots 'pirate'(distributor) and an artist.

          This is the music-industry equivalent of the mafia harassing someone because they are importing drugs straight from Colombia and selling them on their territories, bypassing the mafia's trade route and therefore removing them from the deal.

            This not only proves that the RIAA is unnecessary, and their role in discovering and distributing music by new artists extremely overvalued, but that they are more or less now just a music cartel. Their claim to domination over music production is merely nominal and contractual. It is obsolete as well - the means of production and distribution are now commodities, accessible to laypeople. Fortunately, thanks to the internet and the long tail effect, the market will eventually correct itself by locking the existing record industry out of music production and distribution, and the new record industry will mostly just consist of artists and fans.
          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:09PM (#17673794) Journal
            Not a bit like drug dealers...exactly like drug dealers...

            Hey hey hey. The majority of drug dealers are well meaning people trying to provide a valuable service to their community and making a little profit meanwhile. In the War on Drug Users, they are the freedom fighters. Don't mix them up with thugs like the RIAA.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by zakezuke (229119)
              Hey hey hey. The majority of drug dealers are well meaning people trying to provide a valuable service to their community and making a little profit meanwhile. In the War on Drug Users, they are the freedom fighters. Don't mix them up with thugs like the RIAA.

              What's sad is this is moderated funny when it's pretty much true. I have had friends who's first apartments were in the "not so good" inner city part of town. Their opinion of drug dealers changed when they discovered the friendly neighborhood street
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by adrianmonk (890071)

            Not a bit like drug dealers...exactly like drug dealers...The RIAA is trying to be the middle man in an agreement that's just between a grassroots 'pirate'(distributor) and an artist. This is the music-industry equivalent of the mafia harassing someone because they are importing drugs straight from Colombia and selling them on their territories, bypassing the mafia's trade route and therefore removing them from the deal.

            I don't think this is a good analogy, because the artists have willingly signed a c

    • Wait, you mean you're still buying RIAA-tainted CDs?
    • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:06PM (#17670480) Journal
      Realistically its not about the "artist", but it is about the music labels. They are an association who's prime customer is the music labels. If the music labels don't think this is a good idea the RIAA will backtrack... But it will be interesting to see how this plays out.. If it gets enough attention you might even see some Rap heavy labels pulling out of the RIAA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      So a person reuses other people's creative works for a profit but without complying with the terms the owners of the works, that's OK, but Cisco reuses GPL'd code without complying with the terms those authors put forth, then that's not OK. Huh? They are both matters of copyright infringement.

      I think this is another case where the Slashdot crowd generally sides with the "little guy" and it just looks like the same hypocritical line that the RIAA puts forth because we all are trying to root for the underdo
      • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:16PM (#17671926)
        Did you miss the part where nobody complained about the DJ's activities? Copyright is a civil matter, so why involve the cops if nobody cares about it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by budgenator (254554)
          None of the artists complained, most likely the artists don't own any of the rights to their music other than performance rights The real reason for the police involvement is.it give them some credability, you can only sue so many 12 year old boys and 90 year old grandmothers before you lose street cred.
      • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:50PM (#17672586) Journal
        So a person reuses other people's creative works for a profit but without complying with the terms the owners of the works, that's OK, but Cisco reuses GPL'd code without complying with the terms those authors put forth, then that's not OK. Huh? They are both matters of copyright infringement.

        A DJ making a mixtape makes the information on it more free.

        A hardware developer closing open code makes it less free.

        Do you see the common thread here? We are not concerned about the law, we are concerned more about the principles of free access to information. That's consistency, not hypocrisy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ebyrob (165903)
          Ya, the GNU credo is something like:

          "We think copyright is bad, but since we're stuck with it, we'll use it against itself wherever possible."

          Copyleft was always meant to be the opposite of copyright... Of course, sometimes people forget the fundamentals.
    • by eieken (635333) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:24PM (#17670888) Homepage
      The problem is that mix tapes invariably help those without exposure and fame already to achieve more of both. This tacit agreement to share music for collaboration does exist in many artists minds (except maybe the Metallica's and other super-popular artists out there with one thing in mind the $$$). The thing is that many of these artists are represented on many levels by a business that has only one thing in mind and that is $$$. Basically this is a money grab, and it is a perfectly legal one at that. If you want the money on the table, grab it, especially when you have no reputation in the mix as the RIAA has shown many times that it doesn't care about it's own reputation. The RIAA acts as the reputation-shield for those artists who are only interested in the money; Conversely the RIAA acts as the mafia (only interested in making money, regardless of how) in regards to smaller artists who are only interested in more play. Unfortunately the whole system feeds on itself as artists get super-popular, the artist might change their mind and become more interested in the money, and then the RIAA serves its purpose to the artist quite well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What makes no sense about this is that Drama and Cannon are signed as recording artists, work regularly in the industry as record producers, they're both well-known and respected DJs and are a part of Eminem's satellite Radio program Shade 45.
      They represent all aspects of the music industry. The Artist, the Promoter and the Producer.
      What a dumb, short-sighted move on the part of an industry that's already in enough trouble.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Em Adespoton (792954)
      This clearly underscores the RIAA's hypocrisy in that their thesis includes the tenet they are out to protect the artists, but if more exposure, and ultimately more happy consumers and sellers all around doesn't fit the definition of "protection", I'm at a loss.
      It isn't hypocritical at all... the best way to protect YOUR artists is to put all the competing artists in jail.
  • Confusing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by poticlin (1034042)
    I'm confused

    If there is no complaint from the copyright owner, why was he arrested?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      99.9% of the time the lables are the owner of the music not the artists.
    • Re:Confusing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RedACE7500 (904963) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:32PM (#17669716)
      I'm also confused. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. He should be served in court, not arrested by the police. He should only be arrested if he fails to appear in court and the judge orders an arrest warrant. /IANAL
      • Yeah, but then the police don't get to go through his house looking for bonus points. Finding some weed would be the equivalent of a 1-up.
      • by Rydia (556444)
        Most jurisdictions have crimes for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted work. The feds are most famous for this.

        It's sad that this isn't known; both sides cloud the debate so horribly, people can't tell what's going on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kilgortrout (674919)
        When you start illegally selling copyrighted works as opposed to gratis distribution, it moves from civil to criminal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ucklak (755284)
        Also, getting him off the street protects me somehow. I don't believe it but the authorities see fit that he is a threat to me.

        I hope the rap labels boycott the RIAA.
    • Re:Confusing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:34PM (#17669756) Journal
      You're confusing artists with copyright holders. Most of the former must sell all their rights to someone else to get their "big break," and so the actual owners of this IP are the members of the RIAA. Of course, I didn't RTFA, but I suspect that someone acting on behalf of an RIAA member instigated the raid. Hence, the copyright owners were complaining. The original artist, of course, has no say in the matter.
    • Re:Confusing (Score:5, Informative)

      by pod_sixer_jay (1044818) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:38PM (#17673336)

      I am an artist on a number of recordings published by various RIAA members. I don't hold the copyright on that performance; the publisher does. As part of the deal to distribute my work, I had to sign over my copyright to them. I have no standing to enjoin against illegal use of that recording, nor to license others to use it.

      To make matters worse, one of those recordings is a modest artistic success. But the publisher (in his infinite wisdom) has decided that it's no longer financially viable to distribute it. So when people ask where they can get a copy of it, I have to tell them they can't. I can't legally make them a copy of my own performance, and they can't buy it from the publisher.

      I have asked the publisher repeatedly to sell me back the rights to my own work so that I can distribute it myself, but so far they have not budged. Needless to say I do not record for them anymore. So much for my big break.

      A lot of the proposals for dealing with the RIAA presume that the business model centers largely around selling physical or downloaded copies of the recordings themselves. That's not quite the business model.

      Selling discs (or even legal MP3s) requires a capital outlay for production, promotion, and distribution. Those costs are relatively fixed. They vary somewhat depending on the number of items produced, and vary considerably depending on the mode of distribution. But they do represent a substantial, inflexible cost. Retail prices are also relatively fixed by market forces. So you have a relatively inflexible margin. Thus it all depends on whether you sell enough discs to cover your costs. With a fixed capital outlay and unpredictable revenue, you risk losing money.

      Instead consider licensing fees. Activity not allowed under Fair Use requires a license from the copyright holder, and there is no limit imposed on how much the copyright holder can charge in licensing fees. He can essentially charge as much as he thinks the licensee is willing to pay. And since granting a license requires almost no actual work and no capital outlay from the copyright holder, a license fee is pure profit. There is essentially no business risk associated with holding on to out-of-print material in hopes of licensing it. Therefore it's considered a valuable revenue stream.

      Remixes constitute derived works that are not generally allowed under Fair Use. So in this case the RIAA is likely trying to recover license fees. If the derived work is expected to be successful, the copyright holder will typically charge a higher license fee. So the fact that this particular DJ is very popular actually works against him because the RIAA is missing out on higher license fees. They have a greater incentive to go after him than to let him do his thing in peace. But you can see why the RIAA is not placated by the notion that remixes help sales. They'd much rather have the license fee.

      Make no mistake. If you sign over your intellectual property to a distributor, he will treat it simply as a commodity to be bought, sold, and manipulated in any way he can in order to make money, whether or not your side interests are served in the process. The fact that the commodity is something in which you have an intellectual and emotional stake, and which represents something to which you may wish your name to remain attached, does not even enter into their thinking.

  • Another example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ack154 (591432) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:26PM (#17669594)
    Another example of the RIAA looking out for what THEY believe are the interests of the artists... when really isn't the interest of their own pockets. The artists may get exposure from such tapes... but the RIAA doesn't profit from mixtapes... so they're bad.
  • by flanksteak (69032) * on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:26PM (#17669606) Homepage
    Tech Liberation Front is also reporting that the raid was carried out with the help of a SWAT team [techliberation.com]. Cripes, what exactly did the lawyers tell the police was happening in there?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:35PM (#17669772)
      A black male aged 18-35?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hip-hop = black. Look at the DVD covers and read the lyrics of blacks: guns, gangs, drugs, murder, etc. The police have no idea what to expect and look for the worst-case scenario: whatever they are rapping about they will actually do in real life.

      I guarantee you that if it was classical or elevator music being mixed, it would only be couple of deputies to arrest the, presumedly, white guy.
    • by NetDanzr (619387) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:37PM (#17669830)
      They used the SWAT team because, according to a guy in a RIAA jacket who spoke to a FOX reporter on camera after the raid, copyright infringers usually carry drugs and weapons. Video from the raid can be found here [myfoxatlanta.com].
      • by jimicus (737525)
        according to a guy in a RIAA jacket who spoke to a FOX reporter on camera after the raid, copyright infringers usually carry drugs and weapons.

        Wonderful. How long before an 80-year old granny is arrested at gunpoint for letting her grandson use the computer to download music?
      • by Halo1 (136547)
        Afaics it was a cop who said they usually find other contraband such as weapons and drugs when executing a search warrant concerning counterfeit goods, not the RIAA guy.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Maybe they thought there might be people with guns inside who were willing to use them. I have no idea where they could have gotten that idea, but that's usually why you have a SWAT raid rather than a polite knock and serving of a warrant.
    • Tech Liberation Front is also reporting that the raid was carried out with the help of a SWAT team. Cripes, what exactly did the lawyers tell the police was happening in there?

      Its the result of too much misplaced money. Every little podunk town is getting federal funding for swat nowadays, so the big ones get proportionally more money. When you've got all those resources sitting around idle people start to question if the money was well spent in the first place. Thus pressure to justify their existence i
  • Confusing Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:27PM (#17669612)
    The mixtape industry is rife with payola straight from record label pockets.
  • by glwtta (532858) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:28PM (#17669628) Homepage
    The law in this case if very broken, but arrest are made based on what the law is, not what it should be.

    This is a good thing - a legitimate activity shouldn't exist under constant threat of prosecution; only avoiding it because everyone feels that the law shouldn't be applied in this case. If that's actually true, then the law needs to be changed, not ignored (until it isn't).
  • by jpetts (208163) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:30PM (#17669670)
    DJ Drama (whose real name is Tyree Simmons) and Mr. Cannon were each charged with a felony violation of Georgia's Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization law(known as RICO) and held on $100,000 bond.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:30PM (#17669676)
    For once, the RIAA got things right. If rap music isn't a crime, it should be.
  • What Confusion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RegalBegal (742288) <regalbegal.gmail@com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:31PM (#17669692) Homepage
    Dealing with the fucks down at the league office will always result in frustration.

    "There are some people you just can't answer"

    The RIAA are MONEY driving goon-thug-idiots. The music industry is run by accountants and executives. Most of them probably hate music unless it's Michael McDonald or something generic and safe like that. They have no bearing on anything meaningful as far as music is concerned. This organization is what's wrong with the music industry. That fact that it's an industry is a problem as well.

    I'm not confused. I know exactly why. They are filthy examples of people and will do what they can to scrape up a buck or scare someone.
  • by dsanfte (443781) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:31PM (#17669704) Journal
    This is part of an effort to "criminalize" Copyright Infringement. Currently it's mostly viewed as a somewhat hypothetical, tort issue by the general public, because most people who get into hot water over this are sued, not arrested.

    Seeing people in the news being arrested for copying CDs turns that situation on its head. The whole image of an arrest, with the handcuffs, police with guns, threat to society etc, being associated with copyright infringement is something they really, really want to see. They'd like nothing better than for you to think hitting "copy" on your PC is exactly the same as walking into a Walmart and pocketing a jewel case, and especially for you to fear JAIL TIME over doing so.

    Essentially they are fear mongering, here. They want people to honestly believe they can be arrested for burning a CD.
    • by Rydia (556444)
      There are already crimes for certain types of copyright infringement! There's no plan! It's done!

      Come on, people, know what you're talking about.
      • by dsanfte (443781) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:11PM (#17670580) Journal
        Congrats, you missed the point.

        Yes, it's currently a criminal act to infringe a copyright, but the public doesn't perceive copyright infringement as a real crime, at least, not in the same way as it does shoplifting or drug dealing. This is about changing the perception of the crime of copyright infringement from something you get sued over if you're big-time, to something you get arrested for, just like a petty shoplifter.

        Essentially they are trying to raise the public's perception of the gravity of the crime.
  • There are a whole host of things to complain about*, but the bottom line is he violated copyright law in order to make a profit. Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement. He decided to ignore the rules of copyright, so he has to deal with the consequences. If he was too dumb to know there might be consequences, sucks to be him.

    * Dumb artists signing with big record labels, dumb artists signing away all their rights, record labels bankrolling
    • by joto (134244)

      doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement.

      Uhm...no. It is right for this guy to commit copyright infringement. In fact, in this digital age, pretty much any copyright infringement is ethically right! But in this particular case, it was right for a whole lot of other reasons as well.

      If he was too dumb to know there might be consequences, sucks to be him.

      I'm quite certain he was aware that he was operating in a legally murky area. Then again, even if the area was legally murky,

    • Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement.

      Uh, actually you do, accordingly the guys who set all this up. When the laws have become corrupt, it is the people's right to alter or to abolish them.
    • Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement.
      It doesn't make it wrong, either. He's been charged under the RICO act. If that isn't morally repugnant to you, you're soft in the head.

      Civil issue.
      • It doesn't make it wrong, either. He's been charged under the RICO act. If that isn't morally repugnant to you, you're soft in the head.

        Civil issue.


        I initially had misgivings when I saw RICO being invoked, but this is far more than your average teenager downloading a few songs. He was continually committing copyright infringement on a massive scale (80k discs!) to make a profit. It's the combination of massive scale and intent to profit that push it beyond a simple civil matter.
    • by zakezuke (229119)
      There are a whole host of things to complain about*, but the bottom line is he violated copyright law in order to make a profit. Just because the RIAA does things wrong doesn't make it right for this guy to commit copyright infringement. He decided to ignore the rules of copyright, so he has to deal with the consequences. If he was too dumb to know there might be consequences, sucks to be him.

      I'm not sure I agree with you. From what I understand, this guy makes mix tapes which is the norm for the hip hop s
  • RICO Charges? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Neovanglist (566939) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:37PM (#17669838)
    He was prosecuted on RICO charges? As in, the same RICO that was designed to help fight mafia families? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_ and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act [wikipedia.org]

    It's like the RIAA isn't even sure what to charge people with anymore...
    • by Svartalf (2997)
      Shouldn't THEY be brought up on RICO charges, hm?
    • by Rydia (556444)
      Yes, RICO makes sense. All you need is 2 predicate crimes in the furtherance of a criminal or corrupt organization to get hit with it. Since this is federal, unauthorized distribution of copyrighted work is a crime. I'm sure he's done it more than twice in the past twenty years, and he has suppliers and distribution channels. Bang, RICO.
    • Re:RICO Charges? (Score:4, Informative)

      by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:07PM (#17670514)
      RICO can apply to any felony carried out as part of a commerical enterprise. Since this guy was most certainly a commercial enterprise, accused of making money by illegally selling copyrighted music, I would say RICO is applicable.

      This case is probably a mistake for the RIAA, but it certainly sounds like legally they are on firm ground. It is unfortunately that given our current copyright status quo, it doesn't seem like there is a good, legal way for him to work, despite the implied positive effect on the artists (and probably record labels) he is accused of ripping off.

      The RIAA will likely say that even if artists were not being harmed, they are entiteled to some royalties (possibly correct, though I doubt any legal licensing would lead to that) it is important to not allow a "culture of piracy" to exist.

      Interestingly enough, they probably have to push for criminal charges, since civil charges might not stick since the RIAA would have to show actual harm, which there allegedly is not. For the criminal case, you only have to show that the law was broken, which it probably was.
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:38PM (#17669840) Journal

    Of course, whenever you create music, you are actually stealing from music labels. Think about how much artists suffer when you make new music that someone in the industry could potentially have made and profited from. Will you not think of the arists?

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:43PM (#17669916) Journal
    I read somewhere that the **AA are not about money, or even copyright infringement; they are trying to create scarcity where there is none. That artificial scarcity will then create a demand for content that ONLY the *AAs will be able to satiate. This is typically termed manipulating the market in most circles, but they have paid the lawmakers to make it look legal.

    The only people who will continue to lose out in big ways are the content creators who sell their copyrights to big business like the **AAs of the world. Right now, we are seeing the beginning of content creators starting to distribute their products without the help of the **AAs of the world, and its working. The more that happens, and the more that we, the people with a clue, name the companies responsible for bad laws, jacked up prices, market manipulation... the more chance there is of John Q Public understanding what is happening and voting appropriately.

    So, who is responsible? Sony? No, there are way more than a few. Here is the RIAA's board of directors:

    Polly Anthony Geffen Records
    Mitch Bainwol RIAA
    Glen Barros Concord Records
    Steve Bartels Island Records
    Victoria Bassetti EMI Recorded Music
    Jose Behar Universal Music Group
    Tim Bowen SONY BMG
    Bob Cavallo Buena Vista Music
    Mike Curb Curb Records
    Joe Galante SONY BMG
    Ivan Gavin EMI Recorded Music
    Charles Goldstuck RCA Music Group
    Zach Horowitz Universal Music Group
    Dave Johnson Warner Music Group
    Craig Kallman The Atlantic Group
    Lawrence Kenswil Universal Music Group
    Michael Koch Koch Entertainment
    Mel Lewinter Universal Music Group
    Kevin Liles Warner Music Group
    Alan Meltzer Wind-up Records
    Deirdre McDonald SONY BMG
    David Munns EMI Recorded Music
    Jason Flom Virgin Records America
    Tom Silverman Tommy Boy Records
    Andy Slater Capitol Records
    Rob Stringer SONY BMG
    Tom Whalley Warner Bros. Records

    http://www.riaa.com/about/leadership/board.asp [riaa.com] [riaa.com] Board of directors

    If you want to know if someone's music is safe from **AA, try http://www.riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] [riaaradar.com]

    I am certain that there are plenty of other resource on the Internet as well. So, lets all join together and try to make sure that content creators understand what the **AAs are doing to their business... namely killing it and any chance of real revenue.

  • its about that time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeremycobert (795832)
    for years these wannabe musicians (hip-hop DJ's) have been stealing tracks and music from people who actually make music and then going back and paying them after the fact.i hate to be on the side of the RIAA, but this is one time i am.
  • by monkeyboythom (796957) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:45PM (#17669988)

    So this is guy is being held on RICO charges and I am assuming that the RIAA is using the provision that allows private parties to sue. They are saying that there is an enterprise involved in the direct theft of material? This is quite different than them going after grandma and one computer.This is racketeering and a serious federal indictment.

    But it will be funny when the defendants get to cross examine and no one will say they have been infringed upon except the RIAA itself. Maybe we might get a Johnny Dangerously quote in the court?

    I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the panel: You lousy corksuckers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves.

    From wikipedia.org:

    Under RICO, a person or group who commits any two of 35 crimes--27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes--within a 10-year period and, in the opinion of the US Attorney bringing the case, has committed those crimes with similar purpose or results can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." The act also contains a civil component that allows plaintiffs to sue for triple damages. When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision is intended to force a defendant to plead guilty before indictment. [citation needed] There is also a provision for private parties to sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers." There must also be an "enterprise." The defendant(s) are not the enterprise, in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise. This lawsuit, like all Federal civil lawsuits, can take place in either Federal or State court.
  • Promotional Use (Score:4, Insightful)

    by teeloo (766817) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:51PM (#17670120)
    It looks like Drama was selling these Cds in large quantities. The is a huge difference between making a "promotional" CD and handing them out as a demo of your DJing skills and making a mixed CD and selling them to the public. Mixed DJ sets are very popular in the underground electronic music scene as well (house, techno etc.), where most of the artists are independent and will NEVER be available via the normal big record label channels. The problem with what Drama was doing is that the hip hop genre is mainstream, and the major labels notice. I pray that this will never happen in the electronic dance music scene.
    • Re:Promotional Use (Score:4, Insightful)

      by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:01PM (#17670336) Homepage
      I agree with you. I've always found it quite annoying when DJ's sell their mix tapes/CDs. To me it seems that it's one thing to be creating a mix and wanting people to hear it, but quite another to go and sell it without getting the requisite permissions.

      Another point that I wanted to bring up though, is that the summary talks about the tapes being full of artists that "would never have had the exposure" without being on the mix tapes. If these are underground, unknown artists we are talking about, why is the RIAA interested? I thought the RIAA only represented those big huge record labels whose artists are advertised everywhere.

      Is this a case of the RIAA trying to charge someone for breaking copyright that doesn't even belong to them?

      In any case, I still think that it's totally unpardonable to be selling mixtapes without permission. Imho the practise brings a dark cloud over the otherwise well-meaning gesture of creating compilations of your favorite tracks.
  • You didn't look at, or ask for the law to be changed before this happened, so quit whining when it was implemented.
  • This article does a great job in highlighting one of the biggest flaws in the RIAA's logic...

    Those who download a couple songs off a peer to peer network are more likely to do one or all of the following:

    a) Purchase more music from the artist
    b) Attend a performance featuring said artists
    c) Recomend said artist to a friend

    The more exposure an artist receives, the more money an artist will make. In fact artists make more money off of live performances than they do off of record sales. Personally, I
  • he was the dj who mixed the beatles and jay-z a few years back, making the completely unauthorized grey album (the white album mixed with the black album, get it? get it?)

    the riaa had a fit. result: lots of press for this guy

    problem was, he was a nobody before the riaa got upset about the grey album. in other words, if they had ignored the grey album, it would have remained obscure and esoteric and mostly unknown except to him and some friends and some music gadflies. but because of the riaa atttempts at squelching the album, it gained in massive popularity

    now danger mouse is half of the chart topping group gnarls barkley ("crazy" from summer 2006). that would have NEVER HAVE HAPPENED if the riaa had just ignored this guy. he would have had no career if the riaa hadn't pointed a spotlight at him (well, obviously he still had a chance at stardom on his own, the point is, it is now point of historical fact that it was riaa's actions that made this guy famous)

    in other words, the riaa coming after you if you are an artist IS GOOD FOR YOUR CAREER. my adive for any budding pop music artists: DO YOUR BEST TO PISS OFF THE RIAA. you will be guarranteed stardom! idiots

    this dj, dj drama, he should personally embrace and kiss the feet of these RIAA lawyers: they just made his career. this move of there's is guaranteed to put millions in this guys pocket a few years down the line due to his massively inflated exposure now. additionally, as a hip hop artist, anything that gets you in trouble with authority increases your street cred and your fan base. sure its not slinging crack and shooting at the cops, but its something. even us dorks at slashdot know about the guy now. do you honestly think any of you would ever know this guys name if it weren't for the RIAA? exactly my point

    the lesson?: the RIAA can't do anything except hurt themselves and reward their enemies, no matter what they do. they're extinct. every thrash of the mammoth's trunk in an attempt to live only sinks them deeper into the tar pit

    what totally sad pathetic losers. any attempt to censor something you don't like only gives whatever you don't like massive appeal and PR

    true about angry fundamentalist moslems and an obscure danish newspaper, true about rudy giuliani and a profane painting of the madonna, and true about the riaa and any mix artist they go after. stupid, pathetic, predictable. it's like a golden sociological law or something: attempts at censorship/ outlaw backfires on you and just creates more exposure for whatever you are trying to block, makes your target a hero, a martyr

    you think people would learn, but they never do. drunk on power and greed, clouding the mind and reason. morons
  • by aitikin (909209) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:05PM (#17670458)
    I'd have to say this is a great business move, especially if the major media really picks up on stories like this. After all, if they can sue anyone who makes a mix tape and distributes it without the label's consent, then they can effectively prevent rap and hip hop from being made by anyone outside of the RIAA.

    Gotta love how the music industry has become just that, an industry.
  • by uqbar (102695) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:05PM (#17670462)
    This is one of those cases where the industry itself stand to shoot itself in the foot. Arguably a better solution is to allow a legal scheme to pay a royalty to use a song in certain contexts (samples, mixtapes, and other creative re-purposing scenarios). While you can license the right to perform a song, no such similar scheme exists (outside of radio and music venues) to allow royalties to be paid for use of things like samples. Because each needs to be negotiated one by one, the legal encumbrance becomes so great that sometimes going the "For Promotional Use Only" route is the only way to go. While this is clearly copyright infringement, it also is often a creative act onto itself.

    While the music industry is hardly ready to embrace this (and indeed looks to be going the opposite way with laws they are pushing regulating internet radio) arguably reform in this area would open new models for everyone in the music industry to profit.
  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:13PM (#17670638) Journal
    Yes, some artists may have benefited from having their music put on mix tapes. No, not all artists involved did. No, he didn't get their permission, nor did he give them royalties from any profits made.

    He was selling copies of recordings made by artists without cutting the artists in. In this one case, I'm all for throwing the book at the guy. He ripped them off and made a fortune doing it.
  • 81,000 Mix-cds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kremvax (307366) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:27PM (#17670966) Homepage
    I think that the article is very sympathetic to DJ D., moreso than I'd be. Even if the prosecution is the RIAA.

    This isn't someone who was making mixes for his friends, he had a factory set up to create and sell tens of thousands of copies of music that he didn't own. He'd already received a cease-and-desist letter from the music's owners, which he ignored.

    What was he expecting?
  • The Scoop (Score:5, Informative)

    by psnail (1053094) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:31PM (#17671030)
    I think there's a lot of confusion on what DJ Drama is doing here.

    Some people know what's going on but it sounds like most people think he's sampling big chunks of songs or ripping people off by just compiling a bunch of already released tracks (releasing pirated CDs). He's not really. He's sampling small, indecernable parts of a track to construct a new landscape and then having someone emcee on the track -- which is usually exclusive material on these mixtapes (a bit of a misnomer, they're usually CDs but they were once actually tapes).

    So he's not compiling tracks he doesn't have a license to. The only thing he might be guilty of is on some of the mixtapes he'll remix a track with the artist (the emcee will appear on the track) and then include the artist he's working on the mixtape with. Also, it's possible, I think as someone mentioned above, that these emcees/artists he works with on the mixtape might need permission from their labels to appear. Yeah, they're doing the job of promotion for the record label but it's still a legal guideline in most recording contracts.

    Also, here's a bit of information on the legality of sampling that fits into the context of this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beastie_boys#Sampling _Lawsuit [wikipedia.org]
  • by pestilence669 (823950) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:37PM (#17671142)
    If DJ Drama tells consumers what good music is, then the studios won't be able to push the new K-Fed album.
  • This is totally wack (Score:5, Informative)

    by jozeph78 (895503) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:44PM (#17671234)
    This entire ordeal is ludicrous. Mixtapes don't make album sales suffer. DJ's DO NOT harm the recording industry. I hope that DJ Drama wins a counter suit for the waste of time and efforts this will cost him. What a DJ does is their own creation. Most DJ's try to spin spanking new or unheard of (read unreleased) artists. The majority of mix-tapes (unless you are a really weak DJ) consist of a small portion of the song actually being on the tape, typically 1 verse or a hook. I've purchased more albums as the result of wanting to hear the full album version of a song after hearing a snippit or remixed version on a mix tape. They never use the full length of the song and the quality is usually degraded due to fact it's rerecorded, typically via an analog channel. Furthermore, they enhance the songs by mixing, scratching or doing voice overs to enhance the experience of the music. A mix tape is never a substitution for buying an album.

    The recording companies would love to think the giant poster of the band is effective advertising, but it is not. New artists and new albums from existing artists are promoted exclusively by DJ's, be it mix tape or live mix. In Hip-Hop, House, Rave and other "underground" music mix tapes are the only valid form of advertisement. They don't make music video's anymore and if they do, please show me a channel that shows them in full length. Nobody listens to the radio, at least not for good hip-hop and other dance genre music. Plus radio typically censors music to the point it completely changes the song.

    Now I concede that he may be violating copyrights to make money from copyrighted music. That's just a shame. If he purchased the albums he's mixing he isn't doing anything that should be wrong. The RIAA or RICO should be happy they landed an artist worthy of being on the mixtapes of established DJ's.

    The hustle is over for the recording industry and this is another demonstration they are losing ability to continue pimping artists. They had a good 50-70 year run of chewing up artists and spitting them out... they should just give it up. Amnesty is the last option before they totally fold. Most artists are smart enough now to do self-promotion and start their own label. Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) and Sean Combs (Puff Daddy, P-Diddy) proved how much more money is available to artists when it is done through a self label. As a result most "True" hip-hop has gone the way of indie labels such as Definitive Jux (to name one).

    Sorry if the post jumps around or is poorly worded but I am at werk and don't have the time to revise my rant. And yes... I spelled werk right.
  • by IflyRC (956454) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:08PM (#17671784)
    As of yesterday DJ Drama was sitting in jail, but dozens of his unlicensed compilations were still available at the iTunes shop.

    I know iTunes has deals with the record labels, but apparently these compilations are illegal. Now, considering iTunes may not have the license to directly sell these songs in the way that the contract they have with the labels intends isn't it possible to assume that they could *possibly* be brought up on charges or at least void part of their contract?
  • by AceCaseOR (594637) <alexander DOT case AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:23PM (#17672072) Homepage Journal
    Well, if DJ Drama's gotten anything out of this arrest, he's got one more person buying his mixtapes - me (who isn't particularly into rap). That, and I would be interested to see if this ends up causing some ill will to be shown to the RIAA from some of the established rap labels (imagine, if you will, Suge Knight, Will Smith, Dr. Dre, and Jay Z joining forces against the RIAA, because of this... or something - Nahhhhh).
  • by lymond01 (314120) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:10PM (#17673802)
    The story goes on to say that many of the artists featured on the mixtapes would never have had the exposure and thus sales they had if DJ Drama had not featured them on a mix. Nowhere is a specific artist mentioned who claims to have been wronged by him. Additionally, the article states that mixtapes such as those made by DJ Drama are an accepted and integral part of rap music culture. His arrest is confusing on several levels.

    It's not confusing if you consider that it's not the artists who are suing for distributing their music, it's the RIAA who is suing for distributing music mixed and compiled and marketed (sometimes) by them. I'm not sure how it would work if someone had an artist's permission to record their song live (like the Sting video, Fortress Around Your Heart) and then made mix tapes of those songs...does the RIAA own the song? Or just the recording of the song?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BCW2 (168187)
      This is a classic example of the fact that the RIAA is not about "the artists" but is all about the record companies!
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Friday January 19, 2007 @10:23AM (#17680250)
    Sigh. NOBODY seems to have read the NYT article. He wasn't arrested for "creating mix tapes". 81,000 - yes - EIGHTY ONE THOUSAND - CDs were confiscated. He is a bootlegger. If he had simply creted mixes and given them away on his website this wouldn't have happened. I suspect that he sold the CDs and since he did not have permission for the samples he used, he was, in the eyes of the RIAA, a bootlegger. I'm no fan of the RIAA, but they cracked down on a dude making serious money from potentially illegal activity. That's for the courts to decide. The RIAA has always cracked down on bootleggers.

    I really don't like commenting a day later, but I didn't have time yesterday to followup on this and nobody seems to have bothered to read the article. I shouldn't be surprised. This is Slashdot after all.

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