Could I get in trouble by a Patrol Officer for pirated music?

Say I come to a checkpoint search and an officer finds that a brake light is out, my tires are bald, and I have custom CD’s in my car with MP3’s on them. Of course you’re thinking they would have to prove that I stole them from somewhere, and that I didn’t buy them from iTunes or Napster. But the police have charged people with less evidence in other crimes, so maybe it’s possible? Could this happen?

I’d suppose a cop could hassle you because he thinks the clothes you’re wearing are stolen, but unless your jacket still has the store’s security tag still attached, he probably wouldn’t. Likewise, if you had a trunk full of bootlegged Madonna CDs you evidently were planning on selling, then yeah, sure.

But officer I own those CD’s!

I’d love to believe you son, but sometimes the electric nipple clamps are the only way to get the truth.

It’s a slow day at work today. This is the best I could do.

Do those traffic check stops search you thoroughly for any evidence of any possible crime? Sounds like no-probable-cause, no-warrant, no good, to me.

Maybe at a stop they might take notice if you had a bloody corpse in the passenger seat, but can they do anything other than check for legal car maintenance and evidence of drunk driving?

Not likely. Cops have arrested people of pirating CDs, but nearly always those were cases where the CDs were being sold. Also, the crime of piracy involved *making copies, and all the cops have is a copy, not any evidence that you made it. That’s too much room for reasonable doubt unless they could prove you made the copies – and if you did, it would be up to the copyright holder to sue you for it. It just isn’t worth the time and effort.

Now, if they find multiple copies of each CD with something that could be construed as intent to sell, you’d be in potential trouble. But a single copy isn’t going to be an issue.

If you said someting that could be construed as a confession you might be in trouble. Otherwise I just can’t see that a cop would have sufficient grounds for an arrest.