There was a time, just over 20 years ago, when the music industry seemed to have figured out a way to get paid every time someone bought a device that enabled the digital copying of music. It didn’t quite work out that way, but no one seems to have told the Alliance of Artists & Recording Companies. The group filed a lawsuit on Friday against Ford Motor, General Motors, and two companies that make devices that allow people to burn CDs onto hard drives in their cars. The record companies claim that doing so without paying them is illegal, and they seek unpaid royalties plus damages. Among the demands: $2,500 for every music device the defendants have installed.
The suit centers on a 1992 law called the Audio Home Recording Act. At the time, the music industry felt threatened correctly by the prospect of technology that gave anyone the unfettered ability to copy music digitally. So the industry pushed for a law putting restrictions on the machines that could do the copying. Musicians and record companies would receive royalties from the sale of such devices, which would also be required to incorporate technology that makes it possible to copy music only from the original, store-bought CD. You couldn’t burn a copy of your cousin’s burned copy of The Chronic.
The Music Industry Wants Royalties From Ford. It Won’t Get Them – Businessweek