Proposal To Make Illegal Streaming A Felony

Statement of David Bitkower, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Dep't of Justice, before the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, U.S. House of Representatives, for a hearing entitled "Copyright Remedies," presented on July 24, 2014.  [Link].

In a congressional hearing, a Department of Justice officer states that the Department supports a felony penalty for illegal streaming of music.  (See statement, p. 7).  Currently, there are felony penalties for illegal distribution and reproduction (downloads), but only misdemeanor penalties for illegal public performance (streaming).

Sex Offender Violated New Hampshire Law In Registering For MySpace

New Hampshire v. White, 2012 ILRC 3223, 2012 WL 6062701, 2012 BL 321269 (N.H. Dec. 7, 2012).

Not the typical posting to this blog, but interesting in light of MySpace's historical reputation as a social media platform for bands and musicians.  A New Hampshire criminal court dismissed an indictment against the defendant for violating a state statute (RSA 651-B:4-a) that requires registered sex offenders to report to law enforcement the creation of an “online identifier.”  The Supreme Court of New Hampshire reversed and remanded, holding that a MySpace account includes “user profile information,” which, therefore, is an “online identifier” subject to the reporting requirement of the statute (RSA 651-B:4-a).

99 Problems + The Law

Caleb Mason, JAY-Z’S 99 PROBLEMS, VERSE 2: A CLOSE READING WITH FOURTH AMENDMENT GUIDANCE FOR COPS AND PERPS, Saint Louis Univ. Law J. (Vol. 56, pp. 567-585) (link to article).

"ABSTRACT: This is a line-by-line analysis of the second verse of 99 Problems by Jay-Z, from the perspective of a criminal procedure professor. It’s intended as a resource for law students and teachers, and for anyone who’s interested in what pop culture gets right about criminal justice, and what it gets wrong."

Rap Lyrics Properly Admitted At Criminal Trial

People v. Avery Green, NYLJ 1202544434567 (2d Dept Feb. 28, 2012).

After hearing a recording of a rap performance proffered by the People, the County Court admitted into evidence a transcript of lyrics from that performance, which had been written by the defendant or members of the gang with which the defendant was affiliated, and described crimes that the gang members committed or were going to commit. The Appellate Division held that admission of this evidence did not warrant reversal.

To the extent that the defendant argues that the admission into evidence of the law enforcement witnesses' testimony was "prejudicial," any such prejudice must be balanced against the relevance of the testimony. The lyrics themselves were relevant to the issue of the defendant's consciousness of guilt (see People v. Wallace, 59 AD3d 1069, 1070), and both the lyrics and the testimony of the law enforcement witnesses concerning their understanding of the meaning of those lyrics were relevant to defendant's knowledge and intent (see United States v. Foster, 939 F2d 445, 455). Similarly, the testimony concerning the structure of the gang to which the defendant belonged, as well as his place in the gang hierarchy, was relevant to the context of the lyrics composed by the defendant and those found in his bedroom, and explained the relationship between the defendant and his coconspirators, along with their motives and intent (see People v. Cherry, 46 AD3d 1234, 1237; People v. Faccio, 33 AD3d 1041, 1042). Under the circumstances of this case, the relevance of this challenged evidence more than outweighed the potential prejudice to the defendant and, hence, the evidence was properly admitted over any objection based on prejudice (see People v. Russo, 81 AD3d 666, 667-668)

Rap Lyric Leads To Conviction/Prison

Georgia rapper Rico Todriquez Wright, age 25, was sentenced earlier this week to 20 years behind bars for aggravated assault after indirectly confessing to a 2006 shooting via a rap song.

The victim of a shooting two years ago, Chad Blue, informed authorities of a distant friendship with the rapper that resulted in a gunshot after Wright chased him and let off multiple bullets to his thigh and groin while an entourage surrounded the scene.

"I heard one of the men tell Rico, 'Go ahead and shoot him,'" Blue previsouly told jurors. "When he raised his gun, I knew I had to run. But I knew if I ran a straight line, I was dead. So I started weaving, running between houses, trying to avoid the bullets."

Despite Blue's testimony, it was the lyric "Chad Blue knows how I shoot," which secured a prison term for the rapper.

[Article with comments.]

Death in the 216

Sean Levert (age 39), son of lead O'Jays singer Eddie Levert and a member of a hit-making trio with his late brother Gerald Levert, died after a medical emergency in Cuyahoga County jail. The singer was in jail after pleading guilty last week to six counts of nonsupport in cases dating back to 2005 and 2007 and children ages 11, 15 and 17.

Though not a typical OTCS post, our hometown instincts (Cleveland) just couldn't resist.

After the Show it's the Afterparty, After the Party it's the...Wafflehouse

OTCS is not a gossip blog. In fact, OTCS focuses mostly on civil litigation and private deals in the music business. But, to everything turn, turn, the world of criminal law.

Kid-Rock (and members of his entourage) arrested in the early morning hours (5 AM; 10/21/07) for brawling at a Waffle-House Restaurant after his performance in Atlanta on Sunday.