RIAA raids alleged music pirates in New York

The Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA) and the U.S. Secret Service raided an alleged music piracy operation in New York on Monday, seizing what they say is the largest amount of recording equipment used for music piracy purposes in the U.S. to date, according to a statement Wednesday.

The RIAA worked in conjunction with the Secret Service in a two-month investigation before charging into the operation located in Queens, New York, the RIAA said in the statement. Three individuals were arrested along with the capture of 35,000 recordable CDs, 10,000 DVDs and hundreds of CD copying devices.

This latest attack on music pirates comes as the RIAA -- an industry organization backed by large music labels -- tries to curb various forms of illegal media distribution. Along with raids on CD and DVD copying operations, the RIAA has asked that universities and companies try to thwart online file trading and has launched lawsuits against some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) for providing access to file-downloading Web sites. It has also sued a number of file trading services on the Internet.

In an ironic turn of events, however, the RIAA's own Web site had music available for download after hackers managed to alter the site earlier this year.

The RIAA charges that the individuals in New York provided copied material to retail locations and distribution centers on Canal Street in Manhattan. The group could churn out at least six million discs each year and cost the industry an estimated $90 million annually, according to the statement.

The individuals charged in the raid will face charges of trafficking in counterfeit labels, criminal copyright infringement, and trademark counterfeiting.

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Ashlee Vance

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