CEA urges recording industry not to cry wolf over digital technologies

MUMBAI: Don't get burned up over CD burning! That is the basic message that US organisation Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is trying to convey to America's recording industry.



CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro issued a statement in response to recent media reports noting the recording industry's heightened focus on music copied onto blank recordable CDs.

"There they go again - The recent news that the recording industry now considers casual, non-commercial CD burning as a threat to be stopped comes as no surprise. Even with their recent victory in MGM v. Grokster, the recording industry continues efforts to chip away at established home recording and fair use rights.

"We are concerned that the record industry is targeting consumer place shifting and CD burning, even as they admit that it is legal conduct. While arguing the MGM v. Grokster case before the US Supreme Court, Donald Verrilli, an attorney representing the record companies stated, 'My clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their Website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod. There is a very, very significant lawful commercial use for that device, going forward.'"



The US Supreme Court earlier this year had ruled that the owners of a site like Grokster are accountable for file sharing that occurs through their peer 2 peer networks. Earlier these sites used to contend that they could not do anything if their sites were being used by file sharers to distribute pirated music.

Shapiro states that the fact is that making a backup or mix CD for personal use is not copyright infringement, and Americans who enjoy personal CD burning are not lawbreakers. Consumers have the right to make backup copies and to move (place-shift) their lawfully acquired music, movies and other material from device to device. Home recording and piracy must not be confused.

"Rather than focussing on real commercial piracy, recording companies have chosen to alienate their customers by limiting CD recordability and making CDs incompatible with iPODs or other products. Now they have an obligation to label their products accordingly. Americans have a right to know what they are buying, and should be informed if the CD cannot meet their normal and customary expectations.

"It is ironic that the recording industry continues to cry wolf when so many opportunities exist for the industry to leverage technology for future growth. For example, CEA forecasts sales of MP3 players to grow by more than 45 per cent this year. Online music sales continue to increase. Now that Grokster has been resolved in their favour, it is time for the music industry to finally get serious about building digital business models. Content creators should focus their considerable resources and marketing prowess on finding and expanding new business models rather than constricting consumers' rights and strangling new technologies."

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