15 arrested in raids on bootleg CD distribs

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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