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RIAA and MPAA Join Atlanta Law Enforcement for Historic Evidence Destruction Event

More than one million counterfeit CDs and DVDs seized from previous local raids destroyed

ATLANTA – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) today joined Atlanta public officials to destroy more than one million counterfeit CDs and DVDs seized as a result of enforcement efforts throughout the metro region, marking the largest destruction of seized property in recent U.S. history.

The event took place at the Atlanta Police Department Headquarters’ property section where the evidence was placed in large pallets and “shredded” before being sent to recycling facilities. Participants included a representative from the Atlanta police department; Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freemon; Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr.; Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President, Anti-Piracy, RIAA, and Kevin Suh, Deputy Director, U.S. Anti-Piracy Operations, MPAA.

“Individuals selling CDs for cheap on the street corner are not just small-time peddlers -- they are fronts for larger criminal organizations that steal music by the millions of CDs. These groups are also often involved in other illegal activity such as narcotics and weapons trade and benefit from the high profits and low risk of piracy crimes,” said Buckles. “That’s why we hold our relationships with law enforcement to the highest degree of importance – these criminals threaten the health and safety of Atlanta’s neighborhoods, as well as neighborhoods across the country where this illegal activity is present.

“Piracy not only affects the creative industries, but takes away valuable revenue generated from legitimate purchases from local retailers and city and state governments. We commend Police Chief Richard Pennington, Sheriff Freemon, District Attorney Howard and all members of Atlanta law enforcement for their continuing efforts to help curb the illegal music trade on the streets of Atlanta,” Buckles added.

The illicit product – estimated to be worth more than $20 million – was captured during various law enforcement raids on premises suspected of being used by illegal pirate operations to sell counterfeit music and movies. The destruction of evidence is in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

“We want to encourage consumers to purchase DVDs from legitimate retailers and from legal download sites to ensure they are buying genuine high quality copies of the movies they love and to help protect one of America's greatest exports," said Kevin Suh, Deputy Director of U.S. Anti-Piracy Operations for the MPAA. "We commend the Atlanta Police Department, and the Fulton County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's office for their diligence and effort to curb piracy in Atlanta."

According to a recent report by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), the global theft of sound recordings cost the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in lost revenue, and more than 71,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages to U.S. workers. Global losses from physical piracy to the U.S. sound recording industry, according to IPI, are estimated to be more than $1.6 billion annually.

The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lost $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracy – more than $7 billion of which is attributed to Internet piracy and more than $11 billion attributed to hard goods piracy including bootlegging and illegal copying.

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101