Alleged Copyright Infringer Left in Solitary Confinement
We missed this story when it appeared last month, so we are commenting on it now.
A woman who was arrested on allegations she sold illegal music compact discs was jailed last month and left by law enforcement authorities in solitary confinement for more than four days. The woman, Adriana Torres-Flores, 38, of Springdale, Arkansas, was left without food, toilet facilities, or sleeping facilities. Torres-Flores said she drank her own urine to for fluids.
Torres-Flores had been arrested in December 2007 on criminal charges she was selling bootlegged compact discs at a Springdale, Arkansas flea market. Torres-Flores faces deportation proceedings because she is not a U.S. citizen.
We discovered news of Ms. Torres-Flores’ situation after we read a The New York Times last week about the bootlegged entertainment that no longer is available on Canal Street, long known as one of New York City’s major distribution points for discount goods, many of which are counterfeit. The story details an initiative Mayor Michael Bloomberg began in December 2003 with the aim of reducing the amount of counterfeit goods in the city that never sleeps.
A separate December 2003 from the Times details the results of an afternoon raid against counterfeit goods.
In both Times stories, the newspaper quotes financial estimates from trade associations — the Motion Picture Association of America in last week’s story; the International Chamber of Commerce in the 2003 story — that purport to detail the amount of money the associations’ member lose to counterfeit or bootlegged goods.
Ms. Torres-Flores’ situation is egregious because of the unusual circumstances surrounding her detention. In many other ways, however, her situation is consistent with an effort by multinational copyright industries to use municipal police to enforce and uphold the protection of their narrow interests. We wrote about this situation last year when editorializing about the Fulton County Sherriff’s involvement (with blue-jacketed representatives from the Recording Industry Association of America) in a raid of DJ Drama’s Atlanta studio.
DJ Drama and several of his colleagues were arrested in January 2007 for making mixtapes allegedly in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976.
Eric A. Taub. Off New York Streets, Film Piracy Is Online. The New York Times. April 14, 2008.
Mark Minton. Woman Forgotten 4 Days In Tiny Cell. Arkansas Democrat Gazette. March 11, 2008.
Copycense. Mix Tapes Compared to Cocaine? February 7, 2007.
Michael Wilson. 2 Chinatown Stores Raided In Counterfeit-Goods Sweep. The New York Times. Dec. 3, 2003.
Copycense™: Incisive IP.™