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Film Industry Helps LAPD Spy on DVD 'Pirates'

A sign welcomes visitors to Santee Alley, an open-air bazaar featuring many shopping opportunities... including, police say, counterfeit DVDs.
A sign welcomes visitors to Santee Alley, an open-air bazaar featuring many shopping opportunities... including, police say, counterfeit DVDs.

In a bid to stop the sale of bootleg DVDs, Los Angeles police, backed by the film industry, have placed surveillance cameras in Santee Alley, a block of L.A.'s Fashion District that a movie honcho calls "one of the biggest pirate havens on the West Coast."

Captain Andrew Smith is in charge of an LAPD division which accepted $180,000 from the Motion Picture Association of America toward placement of 10 surveillance cameras in Santee Alley.

The plan has drawn objections from the American Civil Liberties Union. Ricardo Garcia, criminal justice director for the ACLU's Southern California offices, says police should not use cameras in a public area, and shouldn't be working with a special interest group to stop crime.

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Nova Safo