Well, perhaps my earlier idle speculation that the DJ Drama/Cannon case wouldn't turn on Georgia's "true names" statute was wrong after all. A Monday NY Times story suggests the impetus for the case was a lack of required labels on CDs being sold in local mall (via madisonian.net). As Mike Madison points out, the seeds of the investigation as described in the Times don't exactly make for gripping police drama. But hey, exciting cases often spring from mundane beginnings.
According to the story, the Morrow (Ga.) chief of police and another officer ran across a rap mix tape in a local mall, and noticed it "did not carry the name or address of the owner of the music copyrights, as Georgia law requires." I'm not sure if this is how the police characterized Georgia law, or if some nuance has been lost in translation into a news story, but this doesn't appear to be what Georgia law actually requires for sales of CDs.
As noted previously, Ga. Code 16-8-60(b) prohibits sales of CDs (and other music, video, and similar items) "unless such [CD] bears the actual name and address of the transferor of the sounds or visual images in a prominent place on its outside face or package." The Georgia Supreme Court had occasion to analyze this Georgia true names law last November in Briggs v. Georgia, and while noting that the term "transferor" was not defined it the statute, the meaning of the term was "clear and straightforward," and that "a 'transferor of the
sounds' is the individual who conveyed the sounds by transferring them to the article in question." (Slip Op. at 3.) So the statute would seem to require a label identifying not the owner of the copyright in the underlying work, but rather, a label that identifies the person or entity who actually produced the CDs by recordings sounds onto the discs being sold.
All the pics of Gorilla Grillz/DJ Drama mixtape CDs that I've run across online seem to identify the CD as being produced by DJ Drama, and/or Aphiliates Music Group, etc. So, some more idle speculation: Could the basis for a true names charge be that that "DJ Drama" is not Tyree Simmons's "actual name"? Or perhaps the CDs don't list an address for Drama or Aphiliates?
There ought to be more details of the charges soon. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a hearing is scheduled for today.