The Recording Industry Association of America raided the offices of the Aphilliates Music Group Tuesday afternoon, where they collected thousands of compact discs and arrested 17 employees.
Two employees were charged with racketeering, known as bootlegging.
Popular Atlanta hip hip icons Tyree “DJ Drama” Simmons and Donald “DJ Cannon” Cannon were among the arrested. DJ Drama is the disc jockey for rapper T.I.
Other DJs were reticent to comment on the arrests, but said the RIAA is starting to be tougher on infringement crimes.
“It’s not nothing new for them to do,” said DJ L-Gee, the disc jockey for Hustle Squad. “They’ve been cracking down on the mixed CD thing.”
According to the RIAA Web site, bootleg recordings are the unauthorized recordings of live concerts or musical broadcasts on radio or television. If the infringing activity is for commercial advantage or private financial gain, sound recording infringements can be punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Opinions are mixed on the arrests.
“I agree and disagree,” said KP, CEO for Grind Hard Records in Orlando. “He (DJ Drama) got permission from the artists, but not from the big labels. It’s his name on it.”
Posters, shirts, Web site blogs and petitions have been formed in support of the two Aphilliate Music Group members, who have completed many mixtapes with mainstream artists such as Lil Wayne, Bun B, Busta Rhymes and Plies.
“Mixtapes are so vital to the whole game,” said DJ Mr. King, CEO for Takeover Productions in Ohio. “We want everyone to understand what’s actually going on. Drama is one of the hardest working DJs.”
After being held without bond, Drama and Cannon were released on a $100,000 signature bond Wednesday evening. They will have their second court appearance Jan. 24 at the Fulton County Court.
For information and blogs, visit http://freeaphilliates.blogspot.com.