A law is being shoved ahead in California by one Sen. Alex Padilla, and the mere premise alone should chill you. Sen. Padilla is proposing law enforcement officials be allowed to circumvent the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure to “enter manufacturing plants without notice or court orders” and determine whether CDs and DVDs being created ‘might’ be counterfeit.
Of course, the RIAA makes an excellent case against protecting all Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights regardless of what industry they work in… Just kidding! They point to a completely irrelevant argument about their own profits and don’t even acknowledge that what they’re proposing is totally illegal and immoral and runs contrary to one of the very basic premises this country was founded upon:
“Last year in California, we seized about 820,000 pirated music discs,” said Marcus Cohen, the RIAA’s director of anti-piracy investigations for the West Coast. “Nine out of 10 of them come from replicator plants … and the replication capital of the country is California.”
In a piece about the controversy in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles law professor Laurie Levinson called the proposal a “huge exception” to the Fourth Amendment, which “generally requires probable cause” before cops can kick down your door and comb through your shit. Cohen hid behind the whole “if you have nothing to hide, you’re not at risk” logical fallacy:
“We’re literally talking about walking into a plant, walking up to the line and ensuring that, indeed, the discs are in compliance,” he said. “I don’t think the scope of the search is something a regulator needs to be worried about.”
Right. But each chip at these fundamental rights we have as Americans weathers the foundation, and it’s not farfetched to anticipate such legislation could conceivably influence even worse abuses of these protections.
What do you think? Does the RIAA have a right to protect its profits at the expense of every American’s constitutional protections?