Los Angeles County’s New Revenue Source: Copyright Infringement

riaa_mpaa_la.gifWhenever a governmental body makes a statement that voices support for an ethical principle, you should look for the real underlying reason: money.

In a recent meeting, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors stated that copyright infringement “substantially interferes with the interest of the public in the quality of life and community peace, lawful commerce in the county, property values, and is detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare of the county’s citizens, its businesses and its visitors.”

Going beyond a public statement in support of LA County’s major industry, Big Media, the board passed legislation that allows it to close a business for copyright infringement, with the owner fined $1,000 for each infringing work produced on site.

According to Wired.com:

The regulation was crafted at the urging of the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.

The county retains the right to shutter a property for up to a year for violating ordinance 13.90.010 [PDF] and also gives local authorities the right to bring a civil action to “temporarily restrain, preliminarily enjoin, and/or permanently enjoin the person or persons intentionally conducting, or knowingly maintaining or permitting the public nuisance from further conducting, maintaining, or permitting such a public nuisance.”

Property owners who knowingly permit such activity can also be dinged $1,000 for each counterfeited work produced on the property.

The precedent of having the RIAA and MPAA coercing municipal governments into imposing additional fines beyond those of the federal government is profoundly dangerous, vulnerable to mass inconsistencies across the nation, and scurrilous.

The temptation for governments to secure an additional revenue source while helping a foolishly run industry is a Mickey Mouse idea that I wouldn’t pay 50 Cent for.

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