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CEA Denounces Suit Against Car, CE Firms

Arlington, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) railed against a recent lawsuit filed by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, stating that automobile manufacturers and electronics companies violated the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).

The AARC said car and CE companies are violating the AHRA by manufacturing or importing and distributing digital audio recording devices without paying royalties to recording artists and record companies.

Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO, commented in a prepared statement: “This suit is 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.”

He remarked, “As a convenience to consumers, 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 a car owner’s CDs need not be carted back and forth from home to car. It is clear to any consumer purchasing a car with an HDD infotainment system — including a large LCD screen — that the system is there primarily to provide navigation and other useful, driving-related information. 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.”

Shapiro went on to say that the AARC filing, “in addition to being a needless imposition on technology and consumers, is also done cynically at the expense of others in the music industry who rely on the CD format.”