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Auto CD Recording Now Subject of Lawsuit

CEA denounces “frivolous” suit against auto, electronics companies

While broadcast radio has been fighting a performance royalty, it seems the auto and consumer electronic industries are now fighting a royalty issue too.

Consumer Electronics AssociationPresident/CEO Gary Shapiro denounced a lawsuit filed by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies in federal court that says auto manufacturers and electronics companies violated the Audio Home Recording Act by manufacturing or importing and distributing digital audio recording devices without paying royalties to recording artists and record companies.

Shapiro called the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “a cynical attempt by an international royalty collection society to distort the Audio Home Recording Act at the expense of consumers, multipurpose infotainment systems, the CD format and others in the music industry who rely on the CD format.”

The storage capacity of systems designed and installed to hold mapping data and information can also be used in some car models to store owners’ personal CDs, so drivers don’t need to cart CDs back and forth from home to car. Shapiro says it’s clear to consumers who buy a car with a large-screen infotainment system that the system in the center stack is there primarily to provide navigation and other useful information — like radio tuning.

“These multipurpose, automotive storage capacities fit neither the definitions nor intention of the AHRA — they are not efficient for copying the CDs of anyone other than the automobile owner. If this feature has had any effect in the marketplace, it has been to enhance and prolong the utility of the CD format at a time when other forms of media have become increasingly efficient for personal and portable uses,” says Shapiro.