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Investigation of Chicago Police’s Off-Book Detention Center Ropes in Music Bootleggers

A look at irregularities at an unofficial Chicago Police Department detention facility has revealed a CD and DVD bootlegging operation monitored by investigators for the Recording Industry…

The Guardian’s look at irregularities at an unofficial Chicago Police Department detention facility has revealed a CD and DVD bootlegging operation monitored by investigators for the Recording Industry Association of America.

Tucked away deep in the paper’s comprehensive Wednesday report on Homan Square, a facility where undercover organized crime investigators can conduct off-the-books interrogations, was one sentence revealing RIAA investigators observed 11 people selling bootlegged discs — including Jay Z albums — before they were taken to the facility. The note was a side item in the main report, verifying the detention of arrestees.

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An RIAA spokesperson confirmed the organization’s investigators were working in the area, but are limited in their contact with local police and not involved in the arrests or any activity at Homan Square.

Duckworth says the primary role of investigators is to observe potential illegal activity and report it to authorities or to verify that a crime has taken place at the request of authorities. Investigators would have had no involvement with activities that took place at Homan Square. The RIAA conducts the investigations to protect the intellectual property of its members, including piracy of physical releases and illegal downloads.

“We are not involved in the detention, interrogation, or other related practices of local police departments,” Duckworth said in an email. “As part of routine investigations into music piracy we make referrals to the police where we observe crimes being committed, and local PDs often will request our assistance to confirm that music theft is indeed taking place and identify the counterfeit property. That is the basis of our role.”