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December 30, 2012

Police discover RR resident with 20,000 bootleg CDs

  Rio Rancho Observer

By Argen Duncan

A Rio Rancho man faces charges of music piracy after investigators found more than 20,000 bootleg CDs in his possession, according to Rio Rancho Police.

Police charged Donald Wands, 49, with unauthorized recording, required labeling, felon in possession of a firearm and intimidation of a witness, all felonies. He was arrested Dec. 19.

Rio Rancho Police and investigators with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began looking into the large-scale music piracy operation in the city in early December, after learning Wands was selling the CDs at an area flea market, said police Sgt. Nicholas Onken. According to police, execution of a search warrant unearthed more than 800 original CDs and duplication equipment, as well as the pirated CDs.

Based on the volume of illegal CDs, Onken said, police believe Wands had been pirating music for quite a while, but it’s not clear exactly how long.

He said Wands also threatened an individual involved in the investigation when he was arrested.

RIAA Executive Vice President of Anti-Piracy Brad Buckles thanked the local officers for their work.

“Their efforts in bringing to justice those who are active in the underground illegal market help protect the economic health of local music retailers and creators and the continuing flow of important tax revenue from legitimate purchases,” Buckles said in a news release.

A study by the Institute for Policy Innovation indicated that music theft means more than 70,000 jobs lost in the music community and more than $2 billion in lost wages to American workers.

To avoid buying illegal music:

• Whether you’re hoping to get an album at a discount, new or used, extremely low prices might indicate pirated product;

• Many pirates make illegal “dream compilation” CDs, which have songs by numerous artists on different music labels;

• Read the label: If the true name and address for the manufacturer aren’t shown, the CD most likely isn’t legitimate. Such products often don’t contain a bar code.;

• Look for suspicious packaging: Packages with misspelled words, blurry graphics or bad color should raise red flags. Inferior-quality print work on the disc surface or slip sleeve cover, lack of original artwork or missing label, publisher and distributor logos usually indicate the CD is pirated; and

• Watch for products being sold in unusual places: CDs sold in non-traditional venues, such as flea markets or street corners, probably aren’t legitimate.


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