DJ Clampdown: Illicit Turntablism

Article excerpt

THE MUSIC industry's copyright crackdown entered a new phase late last year. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is now pushing police to raid record stores that sell DJ mixes--CDs assembled by disc jockeys to advertise their ability to assemble other people's tracks into a danceable set.

Selling such discs is quasi-legal at best: While some are endorsed by the artists that appear on them, they hardly ever have the blessing of the labels. And when they're not just passed hand to hand but sold at a gig or in a store, it's easy to accuse the merchant of profiting illegally from other people's work.

On the other hand, it's not dear that the raids have been entirely legal either. "The only DJ mixes I had were behind the counter for personal listening, and they confiscated them," one Indianapolis store manager, Jerome Avery of City Music, told The Village Voice.

Nor are jocks who sell their mixes the only victims of the crackdown, especially now that the industry group is leaning on CD pressing plants as well as stores. …