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Documentation Sought for Hard-Disk Lawsuit Defense

Patent attorney representing broadcasters asks stations to check for 1993 or prior user manuals, other documentation

NAB is asking broadcasters to dig out any automation music system user manuals from the early 1990s.

The association passed along a request for documentation to help attorneys representing broadcasters in a music automation patent lawsuit. NAB is not a part of the lawsuit and did not hire the law firm, it tells Radio World, but rather is passing on the word. NAB is not giving advice to broadcasters regarding the suit, the association emphasized.

We’ve reported that the suit by Mission Abstract Data, doing business as DigiMedia, claims it filed a patent for a digital music storage and playback system in 1994. DigiMedia says in the suit that nearly 900 stations have infringed on its patent.

Broadcasters including CBS Radio, Beasley Broadcasting, Cox Radio, Greater Media, Cumulus, Townsquare Media and Entercom are fighting the claims, stating they have been playing music from hard drive since the early 1990s. Specifically, they note that SmartsBroadcasting (with its SmartCaster), Arrakis (DigiLink), MediaTouch (MediaDisk), RCS (Master Control), ENCO (DAD), Digital Universe, DCS, Audisk and a few others had such systems in place by 1992.

To prove broadcasters were using such a system prior to DigiMedia’s claim, patent attorneys from Roylance Abrams seek user manuals and other documentation from the early 1990s. In its SmartBrief newsletter, NAB asked broadcasters to check their station file cabinets, bookshelves, libraries, etc., to see if any more of these old user manuals can be located.

Stations that have materials from early 1993 or prior were asked to e-mail William Bradley at [email protected].

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