Diamond Multimedia, RIAA, and AARC Settle Lawsuit

While all of the attention was on SDMI and watermarking earlier this month, Diamond Multimedia, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) quietly announced the settlement of all pending litigation related to Diamond's Rio portable Internet music player. (See previous story.) All three parties say they have dismissed their legal actions, and have announced the mutually satisfactory resolution of outstanding legal issues.

Ron Moore, general counsel of Diamond Multimedia, stated that "Diamond Multimedia and our RioPort subsidiary are pleased to bring an end to this legal dispute as we move forward with the music industry on the development of secure e-commerce music offerings through the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). We intend to continue to offer consumers a way to access and enjoy legitimate music offerings, and we can't do that unless that legitimate, online music market develops."

Cary Sherman, senior executive vice president and general counsel of the RIAA, concurs: "The RIAA is also pleased to bring a formal end to this legal process. Today's announcement makes clear that the future of the digital music marketplace will be created in the marketplace itself, enabled by initiatives like SDMI. We filed this lawsuit because it was important to protect the rights of our artists, recording companies, and others in the face of a potentially escalating threat from online piracy. But even as this case went through the legal system, we worked closely with Diamond Multimedia in the SDMI process. Diamond has played a constructive, important role within SDMI, especially in the last few months as we raced to meet the extremely ambitious timetable to adopt the initial portable-device specification."

"Today's announcement is good news for artists, too," said AARC's executive director, Linda Bocchi. "Diamond Multimedia, RIAA, and AARC are all committed to the development of a legitimate online music market such that artists and others can take advantage of the Internet and new technology without fear that their work will be subject to rampant piracy. Through SDMI and other voluntary initiatives, the music and technology communities have been working together to address this challenge and to lay the groundwork for the kind of safe creative environment that will protect artists and benefit everyone, especially music fans."