California Tightens Anti-Piracy Laws

California tightened its anti-piracy screws Wednesday when it enacted a
new law lowering the felony threshold to 100 counterfeit CDs. Previously,
the threshold for a felony copyright violation was 1,000 copies.

Under a new measure signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the felony threshold
is now the same for illegal CDs as it is for movies.

“This law ensures that thieves threatening the livelihoods of those in the
music industry will face much greater risk of being prosecuted and
appropriately punished,” Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording
Industry Association of America (RIAA), said in a statement praising the new

“This law will make thieves think twice about
peddling stolen music.”

The legislation (AB 64), co-sponsored by assembly member Rebecca Cohn
(D-Saratoga) and Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), was approved in the
California Legislature with only two dissenting votes before moving to the
governor’s desk for signature.

“Retailers who operate legally shouldn’t have to deal with unfair
competition from thieves,” said Jim Donio, president of the National Association
of Recording Merchandisers (NARM).

“Independent stores like Dimple
Records and major chains like Tower Records … and all the other companies who
run businesses or have stores in the state of California welcome this
important anti-piracy legislation.”

According to the RIAA and NARM, more than 1 million pirated music CDs were
seized in California last year, with more than 1,200 related arrests.

“It is critical that this activity be treated for what it is — dealing in
stolen property and profiting from it. And that must come with serious
consequences,” Bainwol added.

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