California Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill for some searches without warrants
Starting next year, police will be able to make warrantless searches of plants that make commercial copies of compact discs and movie DVDs, now that California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to crack down on piracy of intellectual property.
The bill, SB 550 by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), allows inspections of so-called replicating plants to ensure they are not illegally copying entertainment discs. Special high-tech, law-enforcement personnel are empowered to check that discs contain legally required identification information.
The law imposes potentially large fines for violations.
"The crime of illegal mass reproduction of music and movies is a serious and growing problem," said Padilla. "Last year, more than 820,000 illegal discs were seized by law enforcement in California."
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. estimates that economic losses in the country from pirated discs exceed $3 billion a year, Padilla said.
Padilla's bill was sponsored by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.
In other high-tech-related legislation, the governor signed the Reader Privacy Act, SB 602, by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) to establish privacy protections for people who purchase copies of electronic books, using e-readers and other devices.
The law creates protections for electronic readers similar to those for people who buy printed books or borrow them from libraries.
The measure was supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.
"The Reader Privacy Act will help Californians protect their personal information whether they use new digital book services or their corner bookstore," said Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
-- Marc Lifsher
Photo: A New York store with legitimate movie DVDs. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images