Court Decision on Diamond Multimedia’s Rio

RIAA Press Release, October 26, 1998

Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction

Washington, October 26, 1998 — A federal district court judge today denied a preliminary injunction requested by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies against the distribution of Diamond Multimedia’s Rio portable MP3 recording device.

Judge Audrey B. Collins accepted most of the legal arguments made by plaintiffs and concluded that the Rio is likely to be covered by the Audio Home Recording Act. That is, it is likely to be found to be a “digital audio recording device” within the meaning of the statute, and not just a “player.” Accordingly, the device would therefore be subject to the requirements of the AHRA relating to the payment of royalties.

With respect to the requirement that the device incorporate serial copying management technology, however, the judge found that it was likely that the Secretary of Commerce would conclude that the Rio adequately “prohibit[s] unauthorized serial copying” under his statutory authority to do so because many of the MP3 files being transferred to the Rio would not contain the codes necessary for such technology to operate in any event.

She therefore concluded that, whether or not the Rio had serial copying management technology, “a Rio user could still use the device to record unauthorized MP3 files posted to the Internet” and “the Rio would still contribute to the traffic in illegal MP3 files.”

RIAA, Alexandra Walsh – (202) 775-0101

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