The Fourth Amendment to the United States constitution protects the country's citizenry from unreasonable searches and seizures. In practical terms, it means law enforcement have to have probable cause and obtain warrants before searching private property. This is one of the more fundamental legal principles that separate democracies from other forms of governance, but now the RIAA and MPAA want the Fourth Amendment to be suspended when it comes to copyright infringement.

Californian State Senator Alex Padilla proposed a bill which would allow law enforcement to search and seize without obtaining a warrant for properties and factories that mass produce CDs and DVDs. While the measure would be scope limited to large scale disc reproduction plants, if passed, this would essentially allow for warrant-less seizures, which otherwise would not be acceptable in a court of law. Fines of up to $250,000 can also be issued, if searches conducted without probable cause reveal cases of piracy (or rather, just having optical disc replication equipment *becomes* probable cause).

Both the RIAA and MPAA welcomed the move, hailing the "narrowly tailored bill" and said that companies not doing anything wrong "should have nothing to worry about".

The proposed bill has already cleared the Committee on Public Safety, with 5 for's and 2 against's. State Senator Ron Calderon was one of those that voted against the proposal, citing "constitutional concerns."

(Story Source)