US Judge Strikes Down Bootleg Law

Scott Schrade schrade at
Sat Sep 25 17:13:59 CDT 2004


A judge has struck down a law which bans the sale of bootleg 
recordings of live music in the United States. 

Judge Harold Baer Jr, sitting in New York, dismissed charges 
against a Manhattan-based record dealer which had been brought 
under the law. 

He said the law could not stand because it placed no time limit 
on the ban - unlike the limits placed on books or recorded music 

Prosecutors said they were "reviewing the decision" the judge made. 

A federal grand jury indicted Jean Martignon in October 2003 for 
selling "unauthorised recordings of live performances by certain 
music artists through his business". 

But Judge Baer said US law unfairly granted "seemingly perpetual 
protection" to the original performances. 

US law defines bootlegs as being recordings of the original per-
formances, as opposed to copies of already released music, such 
as live albums, which are dealt with under piracy legislation. 

The Recording Industry Association of America criticised the 
udge's ruling. 

"It stands in marked contrast to existing law and prior decisions 
that have determined that Congress was well within its constitutional 
authority to adopt legislation that prevented trafficking in copies of 
unauthorised performances of live music," spokesman Jonathan 
Lamy said.

- SCHRADE in Akron

"Origins" is coming to PBS Sept. 28.

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