It seems that Ford, a company that will ditch the BlackBerry and provide iPhones for some of its employees, alongside General Motors who are working on wireless charging capability for its vehicles, are under scrutiny by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies. Both Ford and GM were named in a class action lawsuit due to the fact that some of their vehicles feature CD-ripping capability, where the music industry group touted that both Ford and GM’s vehicles have violated federal law in such a manner, and are asking compensation to the tune of millions of dollars.
Interestingly enough, a few decades ago, record labels went to Congress with issues of cassette tapes making unauthorized recording of music, resulting in the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992 that will require both importers and manufacturers to fork out royalties when it comes to “digital audio recording devices”, among others.
Apparently, such legislation would also apply to several newer recording devices, which include CD players – and it is this capability that has landed both Ford and General Motors in the current quagmire, since some of their rides do feature the ability to rip audio CDs into an internal hard drive, and hence, violating copyright law.
The outcome of this particular case will be worth looking into, considering the legality of “recording” devices when it comes to future car entertainment systems. How will the court interpret the role of the car here in relation to the law? Only time will be able to tell.