Two big hip-hop mixtape DJs arrested for bootlegging

Link to "free Drama and Cannon" website, image shown below. Jesse Thorn says,

DJ Drama and DJ Cannon, two of the biggest hip-hop mixtape DJs in the country, were arrested for counterfeiting tonight, according to Atlanta TV news. Local authorities confiscated everything they owned — including their cars — and detained 17 people. These DJs, members of a crew called The Aphilliates, are nationally known, and the records they use in their mixtapes are provided to them by record companies.

Mixtapes are a vital part of hip-hop culture. Fans rely on them to hear about the latest records and artists, and artists and labels rely on them for promotion. This kind of pig-headed IP enforcement is, for the hip-hop world, the equivalent of the Sony root kits or the RIAA.

As you can see, I'm foaming at the mouth. And the spectacularly ignorant local news coverage isn't helping.

Link, and more here (thanks rafi kam)

Reader comment: Owen Blacker says

It's worth noting that the recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property [PDF link], here in the UK, used the rise and fall of hip-hop as an example of the repercussions of copyright law on creativity.

For more information, see box 4.6 on page 67 (that's p72 of 150, according to Adobe Reader), titled "The rise and fall of creativity in Hip Hop has, in part, been attributed to limited application of transformative use exception".

It's a great case study.

Michael says,

Apparently the two DJs arrested yesterday, DJ Drama and DJ Cannon, inked a contract with Asylum Records, a division of Warner, in September. Link. I wonder if the deal includes arresting them and stealing their cars?

Elizabeth says,

Link to video of news report on Don Cannon/DJ Drama bust complete with RIAA representative.

About that Fox News affiliate TV news report, Salthestockbroker says,

They show the "counterfiet/bootleg (sp)" cds and word the whole story as if the djs were selling the actual artist cds. The are not the artists' cds. The video, however, shows that the cds are in fact mixtapes/mix cds which have nothing in common with the actual artists' cds because they include remixes, blends, etc. done by the DJ. The mixtape phenom. is the backbone of emerging hiphop styles and record companies wont sign artist that dont sound like the flavor of the month. 50 cent made his mark and wouldnt have a record deal had he not got his start in the mixtape game. He had already had a record deal that feel through. for unsigned artists mixtapes/mix cds act as a sort of "minor leagues" for the artists to be heard. I was also amused by the clue RIAA rep who mumbles something about markups. A hour long mix cd can be bought from $5-$12. Cds currently cost about as much a new dvd $16-$20.

Chris Burton says,

Not trying to drive traffic to the RIAA's website. However, in a press release (Link) from last May, the RIAA pointed to 12 US cities that were "Hot Spots" for music piracy.

The association stated, "As part of its report, the RIAA for the first time has identified 12 "priority" cities as part of its nationwide physical goods piracy assessment. These cities – Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, San Diego, and San Francisco – are all "hot spots" of music theft, with significant piracy problems from the manufacturer level all the way down to the point of retail sale. The RIAA will step up law enforcement training and commit additional investigative resources in all of these cities in the coming year."

The last sentence of this quote points to the increased action now demonstrated in the Atlanta arrests. Is this the start of RIAA stormtrooper squads?

Update: MTV has an item here.