- SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) Recording industry executives
announced Wednesday an end to all litigation over the "Rio"
portable MP3 Internet music player, which a Federal appeals court
has ruled does not violate anti-piracy laws.
- In a joint statement, the Recording Industry Association
of America (RIAA), the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies
(AARC) and Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc, the maker of the Rio,
said they had reached "mutually satisfactory resolution
of outstanding legal issues."
- "Rio has set in motion a new age in digital music enjoyment,"
Ron Moore, general counsel of Diamond Multimedia, said in a statement.
"We felt it was important to bring this exciting new technology
to market for all of those who create, distribute or enjoy music."
- The announcement Wednesday marked a formal end to months
of litigation over the "Rio", one of a new breed of
portable, pager-sized Internet music players that can download
and play CD-quality songs encoded in the so-called MP3 format.
- Sensing a potential new threat for music piracy, recording
industry executives asked the courts to issue an injunction barring
sales of the device. This was denied, and the companies appealed.
- In June, a federal appeals court in San Francisco killed
all hope for blocking the Rio when it ruled that the device was
not primarily a recorder and thus was not subject to 1992 federal
- In the meantime, however, both MP3 player manufacturers and
the recording industry have cooperated in developing the "Secure
Digital Music Initiative" (SDMI), a joint effort to establish
guidelines for Internet music formats and devices by the end
of the year.
- As part of Wednesday's announcement, all the major players
vowed to continue cooperation in hopes of bringing order to the
fast-growing Internet music scene.
- "The RIAA is also pleased to bring a formal end to this
legal process," Cary Sherman, senior executive vice president
and general counsel of the RIAA, said in a statement. "Today's
announcement makes clear that the future of the digital music
marketplace will be created in the marketplace itself, enabled
by initiatives like SDMI."
- AARC Executive Director Linda Bocchi said the cooperation
would promote "the development of a legitimate online music