Carmakers Trounce CD-Copying Copyright Case

Written January 31, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on January 28, 2020, held that the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, which was enacted to curb digital audiotape copying, did not apply to music copied by an automobile dashboard device that copies CDs to a vehicle’s hard drive. Alliance of Artists & Recording Cos. Inc. v. Denso Int’l Am. Inc., D.C. Cir., No. 18-7141, 1/28/20. I

n 2014 the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, Inc. sued General Motors LLC; DENSO International America, Inc.; Ford Motor Company; and others, arguing that the carmakers’ CD-ripping devices are “digital audio recording devices”. T

he Circuit found that the devices at issue here reproduce CDs to a “typical computer hard drive,” not a “digital musical recording” like an audiotape, and therefore aren’t “digital musical recordings” under the Act.