Music industry fears effect of Net ruling

THE RECORDING industry has suffered a blow after a San Francisco court ruled that a new device for recording music off the Internet is legal.

A small Walkman-style device called the Rio - available in Britain for less than pounds 200 - enables tracks and albums to be downloaded from the Internet as files called MP3s.

The near-CD quality files can then be transferred to the Rio and played in the same way as a cassette player.

The music industry fears that the gadgets and the software that makes them work will allow people to circumvent copyright law and lead to a slump in music sales.

Many artists are already recording their music as MP3s and putting them online.

In a test case, the court ruled that Diamond Multimedia could continue to ship its Rio PMP300 player. The court said the Rio did not fall within the definition of a "digital recording device" used in the Audio Home Recording Act, which requires manufacturers to prevent serial re-recordings of copyrighted music.

The act refers to digital audio tapes or CDs, not recordings made from computers, the judge decided.

Though the legality of the Rio has not yet been tested in British courts, the ruling will be a huge boost to Diamond and several other companies which make or plan to make the devices in this country.

The case was brought by the Recording Industry Association of America, an industry group worried that businesses and artists will lose revenue if the trend spreads.

"The court appears to have concluded that, despite congressional intent, the Audio Home Recording Act has limited application in a world of convergent technologies," the association said. "We filed this lawsuit because unchecked piracy on the Internet threatens the development of a legitimate marketplace for on-line music, a marketplace that consumers want."

The computer industry says the devices are the equivalent of video cassette recorders. "It's not possible to stop this revolution," said Hock Leow, vice-president of the multimedia division of Creative Labs, which plans to ship its own device later this month.

Worried by a potential slump in sales, the world's five largest record companies - Sony, Warner, Universal, EMI and Bertelsmann - have launched the Secure Digital Music Initiative, which aims to make it more difficult to distribute pirated music over the Internet.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms