August 29, 2005 | By Derek Slater

Next, MPAA Will Pass Stamp Act, Establish Discriminatory Levy on Tea

Q. What does the Motion Picture Association (MPA) have in common with the pre-revolutionary colonial British?

A. They get to use general warrants.

General search warrants are part of what caused the American Revolution. Now it's the legal tool of choice for the movie industry in its war against copyright infringement -- or at least, the tool of choice in Delhi, India.

According to this press release from the international arm of the more familiar Motion Picture Association of America, the MPA "has obtained a general search and seizure warrants order covering the entire city. The order permits police to search any premises suspected of containing pirated products, and permits officers to open locked premises without delay."

These kinds of warrants are ripe for abuse. That's why they're prohibited in this country under the Fourth Amendment, which was prompted by British abuses of power during colonial times. The MPA has the right to go after those suspected of infringment all around the globe, but it should be ashamed of using tactics that ignore basic civil liberties.

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