California Law Enforcement Raid Five CD Plants Suspected Of Producing and Selling Counterfeit Music 
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Friday, 17 December 2004

In what was the largest law enforcement operation ever against CD manufacturing plants producing and selling counterfeit music on the side, officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department executed five separate, simultaneous raids on CD replication businesses in Southern California on Wednesday.

In early morning raids involving more than 65 detectives from the Southern California High Tech Task Force and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, “Operation Final Release” targeted five different optical disc replication facilities in Los Angeles and Orange County that were also illegally churning out millions of unauthorized music CDs. Illicit CDs from these plants were found sold and distributed in stores and flea markets throughout the United States.

Preliminary estimates of the counterfeit product seized include 120,000 music CDs. Additionally, 79 unauthorized “stampers”, which contain the actual data that is pressed on a CD, were confiscated. The average “stamper” can press up to 50,000 CDs. The cumulative value of the confiscated stampers and CDs is approximately $50 million.

Search warrants for the five plants -- located in North Hollywood, Baldwin Park, Pomona, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana -- were obtained following an investigation and forensic analysis, which traced counterfeit CDs back to the facilities. Investigators with the RIAA and IFPI, the trade organization for the international record industry, provided technical and forensic assistance to law enforcement officials during the investigation.

In addition to today’s sweep, the RIAA’s West Coast anti-piracy office has undertaken a number of enforcement operations in the Southern California area during the holiday season. Since Thanksgiving, approximately 250,000 illegal CDs and DVDs offered for sale have been confiscated.

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