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RIAA, Seeking Weakest Foe, Goes After Small Retailers

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Probing for the weak spot:

    Dozens of small stores have been given two weeks to clear their racks of pirated CDs, tell where they got them and pay damages to the five largest record labels, an industry group said on Monday.

    The Recording Industry Association of America said 78 small retailers across the U.S. — mostly gas stations and convenience and grocery stores — received the demands after investigators purchased pirated CDs at their stores.

    ….RIAA sent undercover shoppers to hundreds of U.S. record stores, turning up bootleg material in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Texas and Florida.

    “This new initiative should serve as a clarion call for retail outlets of all shapes and sizes that we take music piracy seriously, and they need to get their house in order,” said RIAA Chairman Hilary Rosen.

    ….The industry’s battle with popular Internet-based networks such as Napster (news – web sites) and Kazaa has dominated headlines, but physical piracy of CDs and cassettes accounts for two out of every five units sold worldwide, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

    ….Last week in New York, U.S. Secret Service agents seized 35,000 pirated CDs, 10,000 DVDs and the equivalent of 421 CD burners in the largest-ever bust in the U.S. The operation had the potential to cost the industry $90 million annually, the RIAA said.

This is both a good PR move and a logical attack on real piracy. No one has much sympathy for people who burn illicit CDs for commercial gain. Fry ‘em.

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