The major labels filed copyright infringement lawsuits May 12 against seven retail establishments in New York and Florida federal courts, the Recording Industry Assn. of America announced.


NEW YORK -- The major labels filed copyright infringement lawsuits May 12 against seven retail establishments in New York and Florida federal courts, the Recording Industry Assn. of America announced.

The suits were brought in response to a growing trend of small, established businesses selling pirated music. The RIAA said it has adopted an aggressive "zero tolerance" policy toward small retailers -- convenience stores, liquor stores and corner markets -- re-selling illegal CDs or manufacturing counterfeit CDs themselves.

By targeting these small businesses, the RIAA hopes to deter illegal music sales before they happen. Many retailers identified as selling illegal CDs in recent months have settled out of court, the RIAA said in a statement, but the seven businesses sued did not settle the claims. The Florida cities where the companies were located include Orlando, Jacksonville and Ocala.

"The RIAA's efforts to stop illegal sales at retail outlets are important to all of the music retailers who operate legally, and who shouldn't have to compete with retailers who operate illegally," said Jim Donio, president of the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers. "NARM does not tolerate piracy because of the harm it does to our members and the industry as a whole, and retailers who engage in these practices risk losing their membership in the Association."

The RIAA first launched the initial phase of this retailers anti-piracy program in 2002, with a wave of demand letters sent in December of that year. Subsequent lawsuits brought in 2003 against retail outlets in Texas, New York and Florida resulted in "sizeable penalties," the RIAA statement said.

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