A Misplaced Focus [3:48 pm]
But, after all, what would you expect? DJ Drama Arrested
On Tuesday night he was arrested with Don Cannon, a protÃ©gÃ©. The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for. So the police confiscated 81,000 discs, four vehicles, recording gear, and â€œother assets that are proceeds of a pattern of illegal activity,â€ said Chief Jeffrey C. Baker, from the Morrow, Ga., police department, which participated in the raid.
DJ Drama (whose real name is Tyree Simmons) and Mr. Cannon were each charged with a felony violation of Georgiaâ€™s Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization law(known as RICO) and held on $100,000 bond.
[...] There have been mixtape busts before: in 2005, five employees of Mondo Kimâ€™s, in the East Village in New York, were jailed after the store was found to be selling unlicensed mixtapes. But the arrest of a figure as prominent as DJ Drama is unprecedented. Record companies usually portray the fight against piracy as a fight for artistsâ€™ rights, but this case complicates that argument: most of DJ Dramaâ€™s mixtapes begin with enthusiastic endorsements from the artists themselves.
It also seems clear that mixtapes can actually bolster an artistâ€™s sales. The most recent Lil Wayne solo album, â€œTha Carter IIâ€ (Cash Money/Universal), sold more than a million copies, though none of its singles climbed any higher than No. 32 on Billboardâ€™s Hot 100 chart. Thatâ€™s an impressive feat, and itâ€™s hard to imagine how he would have done it without help from a friendly pirate.
Later: Cracking Down on Mixtape CDs