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15 Charged in Music Piracy Crackdown

June 23, 2004|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

In a warning to those who deal in counterfeit compact discs, Los Angeles officials said Tuesday that recent police sweeps had led to criminal charges being filed against 15 people for selling pirated music, including four vendors this month.

Police officers, some of whom worked undercover, seized 3,902 pirated CDs and more than 1,000 illegally copied DVDs in the arrests since January.

The crackdown was praised by Brad Buckles, executive vice president of the Recording Industry Assn. of America, which estimates $1 million is lost each day because of pirated CDs sold on street corners, not counting online losses.

"There is an epidemic of piracy, both online and on the street, plaguing the music industry right now," Buckles said.

In the most recent case, on June 13, Mardo Linares, 31, was charged with one count of failure to properly disclose the origin of a recording and one count of illegal sidewalk sales after police officers said they found him selling 141 counterfeit CDs on the southwest corner of Western Avenue and 37th Drive.

City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said each misdemeanor charge of failing to disclose the origin of recordings carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $25,000 fine.

Music piracy is especially harmful to the economy of Los Angeles County because, Delgadillo noted, "Los Angeles thrives on the arts."

"The arts are our economic backbone," he said. "As such, we must do what we can to protect our artists from those who seek to steal from them."

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