Nearly 60,000 recordings seized

Gotham police have made two major raids on CD counterfeiting operations in Manhattan.

The busts, announced last week, were conducted with the help of the Anti-Piracy Unit of the Recording Industry Association of America and resulted in 15 felony arrests and the seizure of nearly 60,000 allegedly illegally copied recordings.

The first raid, executed on a bootleg CD distribution center at West 27th Street on Aug. 30, produced 11 arrests and the seizure of 35,238 counterfeit CD-Rs, or recordable CDs, including titles from such artists as Whitney Houston, Ricky Martin and Mariah Carey.

The second bust, conducted on Aug. 31, turned up 24,150 CDs in a commercial building on lower Broadway, near 29th St. Police made four arrests at the scene.

Both distribution centers acted as a hub for sidewalk vendors of the illicit recordings.

Sidewalk sales of knock-off music and videotapes are an increasingly common sight in Manhattan, particularly since CD-recording technology has become cheap and widely available.

All 15 defendants were charged with first-degree trademark counterfeiting and first-degree failure to disclose the origin of a recording. If convicted, they could each get up to seven years in prison.

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