It’s a good news and sad news kind of day today.
The good news is the raid conducted by police, state tax authorities and representatives of the American recording industry on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (L.O.E.G.) store on Pine Avenue.
In addition to a haul of cartons of untaxed cigarettes, the law enforcement agents also found hundreds of pirated music CDs and DVDS of pop- ular movies and hit TV shows. From where I’m sitting, any blow to the sale of stolen music, movies and television programs represents a win for working people.
Let me explain why.
I think most folks are aware of my time as a journalist before I began working for the Gazette. If not, I spent more than 20 years as a radio and television anchor and investigative reporter working here and in Dallas.
During that time, I was a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the union that represented folks who worked both in news and entertainment on radio and TV and in the recording industry. I was the longtime president of AFTRA’s Buffalo Local and served on the union’s National Board of Directors.
When AFTRA merged in 2012 with the Screen Actors Guild, the union that represents performers in movies, I remained a member and national director.
With the rapidly changing technology of the last decade, one of the union’s greatest concerns has been the ability of people to acquire the work of actors, singers and musicians without paying for it.
OK, I’m being polite here. What I’m talking about is stealing the creative works of my union’s members.
Technology has made my members particularly vulnerable to being ripped off. You can’t download a sweater or a car or a dishwasher on your home computer.