Felony threshold for pirated music reduced.

The California Senate passed a bill Feb. 6 that reduces the felony threshold for possession or sale of pirated music from 1,000 units to 100.

On a 28-2 vote, the Senate passed the legislation (AB 64), sending it to the Assembly for approval in mid-February, where it is widely expected to pass. It will then be sent to the Governor's desk, he has 12 days to sign it into law.

The legislation was introduced by Assembly member Rebecca Cohn. "This makes it significantly easier to prosecute (pirates)," said Cohn. "I think we'll see it be a major deterrent in places like flea markets and the street corners of L.A."

"Senate passage of this critical measure marks an important step forward in helping California law enforcement prosecute and convict music thieves for crimes that directly hurt the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers in music and related industries," said Brad Buckles, executive VP of anti-piracy for the RIAA.

"A 100-unit felony threshold will dramatically alter the stakes for thieves and treat this activity for what it is -- dealing in stolen property. It will also bring the felony threshold for illegitimate music CDs into balance with the threshold for illegitimate film copies under current law -- 100 units across the board," stated Buckels. "We look forward to seeing this bill advance to the Governor's desk and are hopeful that he will move quickly to provide the music industry with this much needed enhancement to the state's physical piracy laws."