The Ford Motor Company hopes to quash a major lawsuit filed against automakers and their suppliers. The music industry is seeking billions in damages over copyright issues stemming from car navigation devices. YaKenda McGahee reports on what could potentially be a landmark case for both the music and automotive industries.
Ford asked last week that the lawsuit by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, the leading organization representing the music industry, be dismissed. The Alliance sued Ford, General Motors and others in July for violating the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 that says royalties must be paid for any music on a digital audio recording device or DARDs.
The music industry alleges that some car media systems are in effect iPods, allowing people to burn music right onto hard drives. They point to Ford’s in-vehicle digital audio recording device that holds 2,400 songs.
The Alliance said in a statement: “Ford, GM have now decided to ignore their obligations to music creators and declare themselves above the law… we are determined to collect royalties our members… are owed.”
No matter the outcome, industry observers say it’s almost certain these types of copyright suits will continue as technology evolves.
“Ford and GM are selling 2 million to 3 million cars, and you go back three years and that’s tens of billions which they’re seeking which is absurd,” said Dan Nabel a professor at the USC Intellectual Property Law Clinic. “Rather than innovate and create new business models, the approach has been, let’s just sue people. I think the likelihood they succeed against Ford is almost none.”