Car firms sued over CD-copying entertainment systems

Expedition Image copyright Ford
Image caption The AARC says the devices were installed in cars such as the Ford Expedition

A group representing musicians in the US is suing Ford and General Motors over in-car CD players that allow tracks to be stored on a hard drive.

The entertainment systems can "rip" music from a disc, to save passengers from constantly re-inserting CDs.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies claims the devices are made "for the express purpose" of copying CDs.

It says its members, including MGMT and REO Speedwagon, are due royalties.

In a class action lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) claims it repeatedly asked Ford and General Motors "to live up to their statutory obligations" but the firms refused.

The association says its artists are due royalty payments under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992, which states musicians are entitled to compensation for the copying of their works.

The defendants, it says, "refused to pay the royalties that [US] congress has determined they owe for the recording devices they manufacture, import, and/or distribute".

The AARC says the devices concerned have been offered in GM brand models including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC, since at least 2011.

Image copyright AARC
Image caption The AARC represents 300,000 performers, including rapper Pitbull

A similar device has been available on numerous Ford and Lincoln models.

The AARC is also suing automotive technology company Denso and Clarion, which develops the in-car entertainment systems.

It says other manufacturers of similar devices have complied and are paying royalties.

The AARC represents more than 60% of the recipients of AHRA royalties.

A spokesman for General Motors declined to comment on the case.

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