Avoid piracy, Villaraigosa tells shoppers


The mayor went gunning for pirates Thursday.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by industry execs and other city and county officials, warned shoppers against buying counterfeit movie or music discs.

The message followed a sweep of downtown that the mayor's office said netted "thousands of dollars worth of pirated movies and music." "People who make counterfeit DVDs and CDs are stealing, plain and simple," Villaraigosa said. "It is the same as picking someone's pocket or shoplifting.

"The entertainment industry is an economic engine, but piracy is quickly becoming an albatross on our local economy. When the public buys stolen goods, it's not just Hollywood that is affected. It's not the big stars. It is the people behind the scenes and small mom-and-pop video stores and hometown theaters."

MPAA president and CEO Dan Glickman said movie piracy "triggers a domino effect that results in lost jobs and wages for workers throughout Southern California, both inside and outside the movie industry, and lost tax revenue for all levels of government."

"Los Angeles is a city with music running through its veins, (and) protecting those who make that music and help deliver it to fans is at the core of what we do," RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwold said.

Five people were arrested on various charges in Thursday's raids. The mayor's office pledged continuing cooperation to fight disc piracy.

"The mayor will work with recording and film representatives to develop an ongoing public awareness campaign on impacts of counterfeiting and piracy," Villaraigosa's office said. "The mayor also will crack down on piracy by monitoring the success and resources of (police) enforcement."