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Two DJs suspected of selling illegal CDs

January 18, 2007|Alana Semuels | Times Staff Writer

A popular mix-tape DJ and his partner have been arrested at his Atlanta offices on suspicion of selling pirated CDs.

DJ Drama, who is responsible for the "Gangsta Grillz" mixes, was booked late Tuesday with partner DJ Don Cannon after police in Morrow, Ga., raided his offices of Aphilliates Music Group and detained 17 people.

On Wednesday, DJ Drama, whose real name is Tyrie Simmons, was denied bail along with Cannon. Representatives of the two could not be reached.

"We did lock up the two DJs," said Morrow Police Chief Jeff Baker, "because they knew exactly what they were doing."

The material seized from the raid included 81,000 CDs and other assets valued at about $500,000, Baker said. The CDs included music by artists Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Gnarls Barkley and Christina Aguilera, Baker said.

Police said that the music group was selling the bootlegged music online and to independent retailers such as mall kiosks. Although the CDs looked professionally produced, they lacked the required copyright information.

The raid was conducted in partnership with the Recording Industry Assn. of America, which investigates illegal music sales and tips off police when it finds evidence of illegal activity. Although raids happen a few times a week, it is unusual for a well-known promoter to be involved.

Authorities seized nearly 1 million illegal CDs in Atlanta last year, which makes it third in confiscated pirated material. The recording association spends millions of dollars a year on efforts to deter illegal copying of music.

"Piracy isn't a victimless crime," said Brad Buckles, the association's executive vice president for anti-piracy. "If you look at what has gone on in the music industry in the last few years, piracy has done tremendous damage."

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alana.semuels@latimes.com

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