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Showing the positive light in which their customer base is viewed, the music labels have hired the former head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to lead their piracy fighting efforts.

Yep, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has tapped Bradley Buckles to broker deals with law enforcement agencies for pursuing CD-burning rings and to stop renegade file-downloaders. In his position as ATF director, Buckles kept tabs on some of the foulest characters around from gun smugglers to child-targeting tobacco dealers. Now, he will have the unenviable task of pounding on adolescents' doors to serve them lawsuits for downloading too much music.

A career bureaucrat, Buckles has served at ATF director since 1999. But a lump of lucrative pigopolist pork was enough to pull him away from civic duties and to place him at the service of the music industry.

"Mr. Buckles will be entering the private sector, which he anticipates will be challenging and rewarding," the ATF said. "Mr. Buckles stated that although he is sad to be leaving so many close friends, he is looking forward to meeting his new challenges in addition to spending more time with his family."

Buckles will join the RIAA in full-swing. The lobby group has just completed the third round of its lawsuit filing program. In addition, the FBI and Secret Service continue to aid the music industry in its pursuit of large scale CD burners.

After serving in Washington for so long, Buckles should feel right at home as the music labels' piracy lackey. Cronyism runs rampant at the RIAA.

One anti-RIAA group was quick to give its opinion on Buckles the Buster.

"It's hard to convince fans to pay up when everyone knows artists get only pennies from a $16 CD," said Downhill Battle. "Since major labels can't convince people, they need to coerce them. But if the RIAA has the same success stopping downloading as the ATF has had stopping illegal gun sales, then we don't think filesharers have a lot to worry about. Parallels to the prohibition are rife: free, non-DRM music is just too popular. Bradley A. Buckles will be playing a losing game of gangbusters." ®

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