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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 September, 2004, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
US judge strikes down bootleg law
Blank CDs
The US record industry attacked the ruling
A judge has struck down a law which bans the sale of bootleg recordings of live music in the United States.

Judge Harold Baer Jr, sitting in New York, dismissed charges against a Manhattan-based record dealer which had been brought under the law.

He said the law could not stand because it placed no time limit on the ban - unlike the limits placed on books or recorded music releases.

Prosecutors said they were "reviewing the decision" the judge made.

A federal grand jury indicted Jean Martignon in October 2003 for selling "unauthorised recordings of live performances by certain music artists through his business".

But Judge Baer said US law unfairly granted "seemingly perpetual protection" to the original performances.

US law defines bootlegs as being recordings of the original performances, as opposed to copies of already released music, such as live albums, which are dealt with under piracy legislation.

The Recording Industry Association of America criticised the judge's ruling.

"It stands in marked contrast to existing law and prior decisions that have determined that Congress was well within its constitutional authority to adopt legislation that prevented trafficking in copies of unauthorised performances of live music," spokesman Jonathan Lamy said.

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