Ford and GM Sued by Record Industry over CD-Ripping Car Stereos

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Ford and GM Sued by Record Industry over CD-Ripping Car Stereos

2014 Lincoln MKS Interior 310x

Some Ford, GM cars can rip music from a CD to their hard drives, and the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies has a problem with that.

In today's Really Pointless Lawsuit news, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, or AARC, is suing automakers Ford and General Motors.

The lawsuit, which alleges $2,500 in damages for each infringement, stems from the auto duo featuring CD-ripping technology as an option in some of their cars. Models from Ford and GM both can include an internal hard drive (usually around 10 GB), and the car's CD player can rip tracks from an audio disc to said storage device.

In other words: You don't want to keep your CD collection in your hot, messy car, so you rip some tunes to the whip's hard drive so your Pearl Jam albums can live under your home stereo.

The AARC says this hardware is in violation of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, and wants $2,500 for each DARD (digital audio recording device) sold buy GM and Ford, an amount they say represents missed royalties. The suit also extends to infotainment hardware manufacturers Clarion and Denso, who contract with Ford and GM.

While there are plenty of arguments to be made regarding music sharing and music piracy, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the argument being made by AARC against Big Auto. This isn't about sharing music with your friends, or putting an unreleased album up for torrenting. You are, in theory, taking music you purchased, and copying it to a hard drive.

GM has yet to publicly respond, while Ford has only given a "we're looking into it" quote.

You can read the AARC's entire lawsuit here

Source: ComputerWorld | TorrentFreak

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Giant vs giant

This might be interesting. Or they're just settle and nothing will come of it.

So you're not allowed to make personal backups now? Really? The music and movie industry still haven't ran out of new ways to be obnoxious as far as copywrite goes.

exobook:
Giant vs giant

This might be interesting. Or they're just settle and nothing will come of it.

Depending on how many DARDs theyve actually sold, and it doesnt sound like theyve been on the market for very long, it may just be faster and cheaper to capitulate and be done with it.

They realize that CDs are becoming an outdated format right? Right? Like if they want to combat that, they could switch to a format audiophiles still support and no modern car is able to use - Vinyl.

Otherwise, add one more to the "Orginization A suing Organization B over technology use because Orginization A doesn't want to change tactics to reflect change in technology" list.

I really don't get the basis of this lawsuit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly the same as putting a CD into the drive and listening to that?

wait am i missing something but isn't making a backup of your music on something like this legal?

also how is there any missed royalties? its not like these people are nicking anything if this feature was not in place then they would just keep on listening to the music on cd just with a bit more of a cluttered car.

I think this is the AARC testing the waters really. The AHRA Act of 1992 neither allows nor disallows the practice of format-shifting but I'm quite sure that's what not in doubt is the legality of the hardware used to do it. The movie studios had a go in the '80s, attempting to ban the sale of video recorders, and they failed miserably. iTunes allows you to rip your own CDs to put on your iWhatever and no entity has made a successful copyright claim on that process.

The snag for the US is that the courts have never really come down one way or the other on whether it's OK to rip CDs for personal use or not.

If any copyright infringement is being done (I understand in the USA it's different from here in Europe - most EU countries allow you to do this and a royalty fee is added onto blank media to cover it), it's being done by the person ripping the CDs, not the company that supplied the ripping hardware.

Who are the AARC to tell any US citizen that they can't rip their friends' unsigned bands' CDs to their vehicles' hard-drive? Who are they to tell a home composer that putting their own CDs into their car is copyright theft?

I'm sure the members of the AARC will be delighted to see their membership fees being used in such a frivolous way...

(Edit: Having just read the lawsuit, there might be a case. It appears that an agreement was reached in the USA, similar to the 'media royalty fee' we have in Europe, for digital recording devices. I.e., pay a fee per device and we'll accept that as your liability. Looks like the car manufacturers might have decided not to pay the per-device royalty or they believed that the third-party manufacturer had it covered.)

Agayek:
I really don't get the basis of this lawsuit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly the same as putting a CD into the drive and listening to that?

Ssshhh! Don't tell them PCs exist! Who knows what will come from that?

rodneyy:
wait am i missing something but isn't making a backup of your music on something like this legal?

also how is there any missed royalties? its not like these people are nicking anything if this feature was not in place then they would just keep on listening to the music on cd just with a bit more of a cluttered car.

Well... I guess you could be driving with your friends listening to their tunes and ripping all the songs you like off their CDs. That's the only way this ridiculous lawsuit makes any sense.

So Ford can put a cd ripping device in every car and it's only $2,500 an incident, but if you download a song it's like $700,000 a song?

rodneyy:
wait am i missing something but isn't making a backup of your music on something like this legal?

They will likely argue that this device prevents or discourages people from using the radio, where labels get payment/credit on a per-play basis that they will not get or be able to claim from an in car HDD.

Or that copying files into a mobile hdd somehow constitutes distribution. Perhaps by allowing content from multiple owners to end up on multiple devices, not that it already happens at all, ever...

Those are the only two arguments I can think of, they are both completely absurd, but since when has that ever stopped big company lawsuits.

I'd joke that apparently nobody informed them that CD ripping software for computers has existed for some 15 years now, but they probably already tried to sue over that at the time, and lost. So now they're going after car companies over this because at least it's something if they win. Though at this point I have no delusions that they actually think they're suing to stop something that they think is cutting into their profits; more likely they're doing it because if they win, it's free money, and if they lose, eh, they pay their lawyers a fixed annual salary either way.

Weaver:
So Ford can put a cd ripping device in every car and it's only $2,500 an incident, but if you download a song it's like $700,000 a song?

You are talking about the music recording industry not the logical thought industry. Pirating a song is depriving a poor artist of money to buy food and pay bills and so must be dealt with with swift and relentless lawsuits; but you can fuck right off if you think about giving the record label executives a pay cut! Hookers don't snort cocaine of their asses by themselves you know.

I'm suprised that they even had a cd drive in the car. Surely it's much easier to have some kind of headphone connector to let people play music off their own devices?

Rip the music to your PC's HDD? That's fine.

Rip the music to your vehicles HDD? WOPEJIOJOIGAOGNAPF OH MY GRD WHO RT IN HEVN DEATHLY HALLOWS BE thY HALF BLOOD PRINCE

Just do what I did

Get a magnetic tablet wkndow mount, and a real nice fm transmitter, or bluetooth adapter.
No need to use cds, you can listen to what you want, put on some shows for the passengers,
And with the poweramp app, you can set the bass/volume/hertz/treble/left right/rea front just l7ke a regular radio, and to change song, you just swipe the tablet-so no distraction.
No need to ever replace radio head, and no need for a gps since you can get free navigation programs.
You can even buy converters to hook up a sub.
And if you get data streamed to your tablet (usually $10 a month.) You can use the iheartradio app, and listen to stations anywhere.

And it looks sexy as hell, better than Any radio head.
Ill take a pic when I get home.

CriticalMiss:
Hookers don't snort cocaine of their asses by themselves you know.

Yes, because off of asses is the preferred delivery method for cocaine, that's why every hooker NEEDS a pimp.
And no, 'piracy' of digital content does not rob anyone of any revenue. Only once I spend money is it considered their revenue, and nobody is taking spent money, or taking anything! 'Pirates' are technically producers, or at least more so than many copyright-holders, in that they produce copies without harming the original. A REAL pirate cuts your throat, rapes your family, and steals your shit, much like these copyright-trolls (as in leaves you economically destitute over a $20 album).
The media-industries (music, movie, etc) are not preventing 'theft,' they're only preventing distribution. If the copyright industry were to be applied to the retail industry, then I would be at risk of litigation from Ikea because I made a futon for myself that looks just like theirs, except made in my own shop at home (ie, copied theirs). If a pirate's copy were to damage the original print in some way, then they might have a case.

The whole idea of suing for "sales that were never made" is stupidity in a pure form.

So if they don't want CD's being ripped to a hard drive, why aren't they suing iTunes? Stupid copyright "enforcement" really needs to go die in a fire.

rodneyy:
wait am i missing something but isn't making a backup of your music on something like this legal?

also how is there any missed royalties? its not like these people are nicking anything if this feature was not in place then they would just keep on listening to the music on cd just with a bit more of a cluttered car.

Ripping music you own ISN'T illegal. They simply harp on you because then they can't stop you from distributing it.

FalloutJack:
Ripping music you own ISN'T illegal. They simply harp on you because then they can't stop you from distributing it.

Ermm, depending on where you live, yes it is. Here in the UK we're OK; USA, not so well defined. Quoted from wiki:

U.S. copyright law (Title 17 of the United States Code) generally says that making a copy of an original work, if conducted without the consent of the copyright owner, is infringement. The law makes no explicit grant or denial of a right to make a "personal use" copy of another's copyrighted content on one's own digital media and devices. For example, space shifting, by making a copy of a personally-owned audio CD for transfer to an MP3 player for that person's personal use, is not explicitly allowed or forbidden.

Existing copyright statutes may apply to specific acts of personal copying, as determined in cases in the civil or criminal court systems, building up a body of case law. Consumer copyright infringement cases in this area, to date, have only focused on issues related to consumer rights and the applicability of the law to the sharing of ripped files, not to the act of ripping, per se. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripping

Looking at the damages they're after ($2500), I suspect the recorders in the cars don't conform to the act re. SMCS.

The AHRA required that all digital audio recording devices conform to a form of copy protection called the Serial Copy Management System or its functional equivalent. A SCMS is a section of code which permits limited copying of an original recording, but prohibits copies from being made by subsequent generations. The AHRA also prohibited circumvention of SCMS and importation, distribution or manufacture of such tools. Violations of either provision are punishable by up to $25 per recording, or $2,500 per device. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_Home_Recording_Act

There is an agreement between the makers of recording devices, recordable media and these copyright bodies to prevent this kind of lawsuit. The fact that it's being issued means, I suspect, that Ford/GM are probably in the wrong here, regardless of what you think about the law being an ass etc.

IndieForever:
Poot

If it's neither granted nor denied, how is it pursued? It's like saying you can't do this, but we can't say anything about it. What's the point?

FalloutJack:
If it's neither granted nor denied, how is it pursued? It's like saying you can't do this, but we can't say anything about it. What's the point?

My reading of it is that your copyright law appears to cover the ripping of CDs for personal use and makes it, to the letter of the law, illegal. It was drawn up long before the advent of the media and devices we're using now. What the wiki article says is that there is no provision in law for or against *personal* use as it was just simply not envisaged, and the fallback is the copyright statutes which were drawn up to prevent copying *and distribution*. Shrug.

However... to get round the silliness of the situation, digital recording royalties in many countries (including the USA) are covered by payments from the manufacturers of recorders, cd-r media etc., etc. to the various artists' representatives. This has been placed into EU law (and is implemented in most, but not all, countries) and USA law under the AHRA.

The AARC is alleging that the recorders and/or payments from the cars do not conform to the Act and they want damages. Simple enough.

I can imagine this sneaking past the legal departments, especially at GM considering what they've been going through recently with the recall fiascos and payments to the families of dead Cobalt drivers, and just being simply missed. Maybe they imported EU-spec recorders that don't have to have that SCMS implemented.. who knows.

These have been in cars in Europe for a long time now, albeit mostly high-end ones, and this situation has never arisen before.

I read an article on the consumerist yesterday about this BS. The 1992 Home Audio Recording Act requires any company manufacturing a device a that allows an end user to copy audio to pay some ridiculous royalties to the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, because, as you know, the record industry execs that get that money can barely afford baby food, both then and now.

What doesn't make sense to me, besides record companies and their lawyers being bloodthirsty and willing to eat whatever come into their line of site, is why they are suing Ford and GM directly. They got the two subcontractors that make the audio equipment named as defendants anyway. Unless Ford and GM knew those units were unlicensed, the case against them should be thrown out. I sure don't want big label execs getting tons of cash from those two auto makers and then the auto makers lay off staff to make up for the losses. GM is especially in a pinch with all the recalls and incompetence in engineering and upper management they're dealing with.

One more thing that bothers me is who rips a CD on there car radio the copies that onto something else? (I could think of someone having a friend bring a CD and the car owner likes it so they copy it and maybe puts it on their flash drive, iPod, PC, etc. But, what stops them from just borrowing the CD for a few minutes and ripping it on a PC, anyway? Besides inconvenience.)I didn't even think any OEM car decks would allow copying back to a flash drive, both for this reason and to keep the programing simple.

IndieForever:
If any copyright infringement is being done (I understand in the USA it's different from here in Europe - most EU countries allow you to do this and a royalty fee is added onto blank media to cover it), it's being done by the person ripping the CDs, not the company that supplied the ripping hardware.

You mean to tell me that if someone in most of Europe wants to buy some blank CD-Rs to burn Linux distros, some of that money goes into the pockets of record labels? That just solidifies what I already thought was true, no matter what country you're, these greedy bastards can find was to get your hard earned money with no effort on their part.

captcha: "When is the next time you plan on flying?" When the TSA is dissolved and/or replaced by a competent security agency that actually catches guys with bombs but doesn't ground planes because a parent didn't like their five-year-olds watching an R-rated movie. So, never, probably.

Hairless Mammoth:
You mean to tell me that if someone in most of Europe wants to buy some blank CD-Rs to burn Linux distros, some of that money goes into the pockets of record labels?

Sadly, yes. As there is no such thing as a data-only CD-R, that was the solution. Again, bear in mind this was implemented before the widespread uptake of broadband in Europe, the availability of cheap, portable storage and is somewhat irrelevant now. In fact, I'm going to guess that more CD-Rs/DVD-Rs are sold for data than for music these days, but I have no proof of that or figures to back it up - just a gut feeling.

The CD-R is going the way of the dinosaur anyway and, amusingly, USB sticks and SD-cards don't have this tariff levied on them. Yet....

My own car synchs with a folder on my PC when it is in range of my wireless network. I've got a relay in the garage so whatever I have in D:\CarMusic ends up on the internal HD very shortly afterwards. That would be covered explicitly by the UK's laws which permit me to make a copy for personal use on whatever format I want. I think if a car manufacturer offered that in the States they'd be crucified but, oddly, overall, the USA's laws re copyright are more usable than the UK's in the whole.

You have parody protection, Fair Use... we don't.

Agayek:
I really don't get the basis of this lawsuit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly the same as putting a CD into the drive and listening to that?

Except you can take the CD out and still play the music! This madness must end! Can you imagine if we had some sort of mobile music standard?

Seriously, my mom has one of these in her cars which she usually uses for audiobooks. It's amazingly handy, since it means you don't need to leave CDs in a hot car. I don't even think you can change the file quality or redistribute the files, so it's about as closed a system as you can get. and since they're usually 10 or 20 GB, it seems fairly harmless.

But I guess the music industry just wouldn't be the music industry without stupid lawsuits.

I guess this applies to home dvrs, too? Wait, maybe only if the recordings have music on them. Wait, maybe only if you put your dvr with shows on it in your car and drive it places. I guess big companies are only against frivolous lawsuits when they're the ones not doing the suing.

harrisonmcgiggins:
Just do what I did

Get a magnetic tablet wkndow mount, and a real nice fm transmitter, or bluetooth adapter.
No need to use cds, you can listen to what you want, put on some shows for the passengers,
And with the poweramp app, you can set the bass/volume/hertz/treble/left right/rea front just l7ke a regular radio, and to change song, you just swipe the tablet-so no distraction.
No need to ever replace radio head, and no need for a gps since you can get free navigation programs.
You can even buy converters to hook up a sub.
And if you get data streamed to your tablet (usually $10 a month.) You can use the iheartradio app, and listen to stations anywhere.

And it looks sexy as hell, better than Any radio head.
Ill take a pic when I get home.

In a lot of states, that's illegal (video screen in view of the driver).

Some states may also have laws against a window mount (mine does).

Zachary Amaranth:

harrisonmcgiggins:
Just do what I did

Get a magnetic tablet wkndow mount, and a real nice fm transmitter, or bluetooth adapter.
No need to use cds, you can listen to what you want, put on some shows for the passengers,
And with the poweramp app, you can set the bass/volume/hertz/treble/left right/rea front just l7ke a regular radio, and to change song, you just swipe the tablet-so no distraction.
No need to ever replace radio head, and no need for a gps since you can get free navigation programs.
You can even buy converters to hook up a sub.
And if you get data streamed to your tablet (usually $10 a month.) You can use the iheartradio app, and listen to stations anywhere.

And it looks sexy as hell, better than Any radio head.
Ill take a pic when I get home.

In a lot of states, that's illegal (video screen in view of the driver).

Some states may also have laws against a window mount (mine does).

I am aware. You can always put it somewhere not immediatly visible, and you can turn screen off and change song with remote.
Or heck, put tint on yourvwindows, there are allways options. Here in fl cops dont pull you over for 5% tint (I had 5% tint, and cops behind me would ignore me.) So I doubt they will pull you over for a video screen.
So dont give up! Exp, ore your options and get creative :)
Thats just from my experience though, and highway patrol Will pull you over for 5% tint

Agayek:
I really don't get the basis of this lawsuit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly the same as putting a CD into the drive and listening to that?

Yes. That's why it's stupid. But in many senses CD ripping in any way is till technically infringing. Here in the UK CD and DVD ripping for backup purposes has only been made 'legal' in the past year or so which was actually a really nice clarification BTW and actually allowed you to break DRM without breaking any civil laws or even EULAs since the law supersedes those.

The US has no such new law or clarification so organizations like the AARC can still launch lawsuits against targets they deem vunerable to raise revenue. It's like a city or state deciding to apply an outdated law to raise cash in cases it felt it could shake people down. The likes of the AARC and RIAA got a very bad image from suing individuals and so go after more corporate targets these days.They are probably clinging to some tenuous idea of "Distribution" or "public performance"

They kind of gave up on the idea they could kill CD ripping due to, you know, reality. But their stance on the 'legality' of it hasn't really changed much, only what they think the public will accept.

TLDR: outdated and ambiguous copyright laws make shakedowns like this possible.

EDIT *looks at lawsuit*:

"(a)compensation in the form of royalty payments for each digital audio recording device distributed, and (b) a requirement that all such DARDs incorporate certain copying controls to prevent or impede "serial" copying.

Fuck. This. Shit. What is this? 1992 *looks at the law* oh wait it is from 1992 >_>. Copy Protection for music? Really? In 2014? I... urrrgggg... THIS IS WHY PEOPLE IGNORE YOUR JOKE LAWS.

wait peopel still use CDs in cars? here its always 1 of 2 cases:

case 1 (more popular): people connect their ipod/phone to car stereo and listen to music though it.

case 2: people use 200 song mp3 DVDs

i havent seen an actual CD playing in a car in years.

IndieForever:
snip

actually DCMA allows the owner to make a copy, just not circumvent the DRM.

Not so secretly I want them to not settle and have an epic clash creating precedents that will probably alter the future. Not so secretly I hope Ford and GM reminds the poor oppressed music industry how unfair life is for them and how there is nothing but unfair treatment in store for them.

Man I have no sympathy anymore for the recording industry. Literally they are the most useless irrelevant slime on the planet that have really been staying relevant only by muscling out weaker companies and individuals, through lawsuits and lobbying. It's cheaper then ever for individuals to produce and distribute music without the aid of these labels, and if there ever comes a point where a service pops up that can cut them out in a real and tangible way, I will not shed a single tear for those corpse stalking vultures. I hope ford and GM counter sue the life out of AARC.

So... They have a problem with ripping music to the rare hard drive that isn't prone to being connected to the Internet?

I think this ship has already sailed, guys...

I don't understand this, you can legally make backups of music and movies you own, you can rip music and put it on your player of choice, but they're sueing companies large enough to fight them over it?

I hate it when these people sue and give almost none of the won money to the artists, just goes to show their greed for what it is...

CriticalMiss:
Hookers don't snort cocaine of their asses by themselves you know.

Just go ahead and ruin my hopes and dreams :(

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