AARC Files Federal Class Action Lawsuit – Letter to AARC Members

July 25, 2014

A Message from AARC’s Executive Director

Dear Members and Friends:Linda Bocchi

Today, AARC filed a federal class action lawsuit against Ford, GM, and two
electronics manufacturers, Denso and Clarion, to recover royalties they owe under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) for automobile-based digital audio recording devices.

We did not take this step lightly. We filed suit only after exhaustive efforts to negotiate a compromise – and being stonewalled by these companies at virtually every corner.

While there are no sure things whenever the courts are involved, the devices at issue are AHRA-covered music recording systems that allow consumers to rip copies of their CDs and other music and store them in car-based hard drives. Ford’s device is explicitly marketed as “a 10GB digital Jukebox that can hold up to 2,400 songs.” And GM marketing materials explain that to “maintain optimal focus on the top priority of digital music, the hard drive will not accept photos or other sorts of data.” I believe the defendants will have a difficult time convincing the court they do not owe royalties under the statute.

For years, the defendants have reaped the benefits of the tradeoff at the heart of the AHRA – protection for consumers making personal copies of their music and legal certainty for companies manufacturing, importing, and distributing digital music recorders in exchange for royalties to music creators – yet now they refuse to hold up their end of the deal. In my opinion, that’s immoral and unjust.

AARC will not stand by and allow the AHRA, which has served consumers, companies, and music creators so well, to be gutted in this fashion. We will do whatever it takes to protect the rights of our members and all AHRA beneficiaries.

Additional information about the action can be found here, and I will share further updates as I receive them.

Thank you very much for your support.

Sincerely,

Linda R. Bocchi, Esq.
Executive Director
Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies