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The RIAA's private SWAT team

Before you ask, no, this isn't a joke.

Music Industry Puts Troops in the Streets
Quasi-legal squads raid street vendors


Borrayo attends to a parking lot next to the landmark El 7 Mares fish-taco stand on Sunset Boulevard. To supplement his buck-a-car income, he began, in 2003, selling records and videos from a makeshift stand in front of the lot.

In a good week, Borrayo said, he might unload five or 10 albums and a couple DVDs at $5 apiece. Paying a distributor about half that up-front, he thought he’d lucked into a nice side business.

The RIAA saw it differently. Figuring the discs were bootlegs, a four-man RIAA squad descended on his stand a few days before Christmas and persuaded the 4-foot-11 Borrayo to hand over voluntarily a total of 78 discs. It wasn’t a tough sell.

"They said they were police from the recording industry or something, and next time they’d take me away in handcuffs," he said through an interpreter. Borrayo says he has no way of knowing if the records, with titles like Como Te Extraño Vol. IV — Musica de los 70’s y 80’s, are illegal, but he thought better of arguing the point.




( Read 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC)
Seriously, wtf? How can anyone get away with shite like that? What the fuck ever happened to due process?

"We notify them that continued sale would be a violation of civil and criminal codes. If they’d like to voluntarily turn the product over to us, we’ll destroy it, and we agree we won’t sue," he explained.

Threatening people, and fucking distruction of evidence. Privately owned swat-style teams ordered to go harrass hispanic guys. If this was someone who wasn't paying lobbying law enforcement would be all over them. But no, the scary hispanic pirates are selling their plunder! They must be bad!
Jan. 14th, 2004 10:10 pm (UTC)
... land of the free ...
( Read 2 comments — Leave a comment )