August 26, 1974
If you paid only $2.50-*3.50 for that Presley- or Bette Midler 8-track tape then it almost certainly is a pirated product.
Diet Brown, an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, recently won conviction against a man named Richard Taxe in a multimillion dollar tape bootlegging operation trial.
Taxe was sentenced this month to four years in prison and fined S26.QOQ.
“The case is important,” said Bro\vn. “because it may help us get convictions from other tape pirates. It’s a nationwide problem.
“Even.’ top recording star and group in the country is pirated. You name the stars – Jim Croce, Three Dog Night, Bette Midler, the Carpenters. Joe Cocker, Cheech and Chong. Merle Haggard, Johnny Mathis. All of them.”
The process is rather simple. The bootlegger buys an album or a tape, records it over and over again on other tapes, slaps a different label on inferior cartridges and sells them for the genuine article.
Brown said the bogus recordings are sold at swap meets, filling stations, discount houses and in legitimate record stores.
“It’s a S250 million business.” he said. “And one out of three tapes is pirated. Los Angeles. New York and Nashville arr hotbeds of piracy, but small operators are bootlegging tapes all over the country.
“Some guys even operate out of vans and sell the tapes right on the streets at swap meets. A legitimate tape costs $6.98 in most places.
The bootlegger’s product sells for about a third of that.
“A lot of people think there’s nothing wrong with pirating.
But it cheats artists, record companies and retail outlets of millions of dollars.