Ford, along with automotive component manufacturers Denso and Clarion, are being sued by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC), who alleges that they have failed to pay royalties under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).
Billboard reports that the AARC, who represents the interests of artists and recording companies within the digital duplication sector, claims “that Ford … via the technology companies Clarion and Denso respectively, have failed to register their in-vehicle media duplication devices.” The devices in question allow car owners to store music on a built-in hard drive so that it can be played again at a later time.
AHRA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 to address the then-new developments in digital replication, which allowed companies and fans to create one-to-one copies of recordings. The legislation was created to introduce “a statutory royalty for manufacturers of digital copying technologies and devices to pay in order to avoid a spiderweb of litigation by songwriters and trade bodies over their usage.” The law also gave end users the ability to make a backup copy of an album.
The suit, which also includes General Motors as a defendant, “seeks an injunction against the four companies for sale and distribution of the devices, statutory damages of $2,500 per device for three years up to the filing of the lawsuit, all royalties that would have been normally owed by the companies in the three years prior plus 50 percent, and attorneys’ fees,” according to Billboard.
Ford has yet to comment on the matter.