Menu
Ford and GM sued for millions over CD-ripping tech in cars

Ford and GM sued for millions over CD-ripping tech in cars

The lawsuit calls for punitive damages equal to $2500 per CD-R player installed

The copyright protection arm of the U.S. music industry is suing Ford and GM because the companies sold cars with CD players that can rip music to the vehicle's hard drive.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC), a non-profit group representing more then 300,000 artists, filed the suit against the car companies and their infotainment system tech suppliers, Denso and Clarion.

The lawsuit calls out a feature in Ford vehicles called Jukebox, which records songs from CDs to the infotainment system's hard drive. The Jukebox function has been available on Ford vehicles since at least the 2011 model year.

For example, the owner's manual explains, "Your mobile media navigation system has a Jukebox which allows you to save desired tracks or CDs to the hard drive for later access. The hard drive can store up to 10GB (164 hours; approximately 2,472 tracks) of music."

The lawsuit also cites GM's Hard Drive Device, made by Denso, which can rip music and has been available on numerous models since at least 2011.

The suit seeks millions of dollars to be paid by each of the companies for violating the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992. The Act protects against distributing digital audio recording devices whose primary purpose is to rip copyrighted material.

For example, a CD-R player in a personal computer is not considered a violation under the Act because the computer was not marketed as a musical recording device.

The "defendants designed these devices for the express purpose of copying music CDs and other digital recordings to a hard drive on the devices, and they market these devices emphasizing that copying function," the AARC argues ( download PDF).

In its filing, the AARC claims the "multi-billion dollar companies" are protected by the AARC as long as they incorporate certain copying control technology and pay "a modest royalty per device."

The automakers, however, have yet to pay royalties to the music industry in conjunction with marketing the CD-R technology in their vehicles, the AARC said.

News of the lawsuit, first reported by TorrentFreak, focused on the fact that Ford and GM have for years sold a variety of models with CD players that rip songs to the vehicle's hard drive. The models include the Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Volt, and GMC Terrain.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. on Friday, seeks injunctive relief and damages equal to $2,500 for each digital audio recording device installed in a vehicle.

The damages were calculated as the unpaid royalties over the past three years, as well as an additional amount equal to 50% of the actual damages to be paid to the artists who registered their copyrights.

Neither automaker responded to requests for comment.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Mobile/WirelessNetworkingwirelesslegalmobile

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Show Comments