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CEA Responds to RIAA Letter Regarding So-Called Audio Flag

Recording Industry’s Refusal to Participate in Open Forums Confirms No Technical Specification Exists for Flag

The following statement was issued by Consumer Electronics Association (CEAA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro regarding a letter sent last week from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) concerning the RIAA’s refusal to participate in the Copy Protection Technical Working Group (CPTWG) to discuss efforts to prevent the mass, indiscriminate redistribution of copyrighted works over the Internet:

“We are pleased to see the RIAA letter finally confirmed, as we have long suspected, that no technical specification for an audio flag, or in fact anything else, exists and that the RIAA has stayed away from the Copy Protection Technical Working Group in part because it has nothing to propose. The letter also confirms that the RIAA’s interest lies solely in preserving its existing ways of business, with the hope that it can maximize profits by limiting innovation and undermining long-standing consumer rights.

“As we have repeatedly said, we are prepared to discuss ways to limit the mass indiscriminate redistribution of music over the Internet. Instead, the RIAA wants to ban ‘disaggregation,’ which it now calls ‘cherry picking’ in the hope that it can give legitimacy to its policy ideas by using a sweeter name. In short, the RIAA wants to stop consumers from doing what they’ve been doing since a tape recorder was first used to capture a song played over the air for private use. The recording industry’s campaign over disaggregation is nothing but a thinly veiled attack on lawful, private, noncommercial, in-home consumer recording practices.

“Although the RIAA continues to try to muddy the waters, this much remains clear: the music industry no longer agrees that a consumer’s right to make a first generation copy of a song includes the right to play it back when and how the consumer wishes. For that reason, the RIAA should not be surprised that we will continue to fight its legislative efforts on Capitol Hill, and that we expect to prevail by defending innovation and consumer rights.

“We remain committed to working with the music industry to address legitimate concerns over the mass, indiscriminate redistribution of copyrighted works over the Internet. This can best be done through public, open forums such as the CPTWG and not through misguided lawsuits and overly broad legislation.”

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,100 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA’s members account for more than $125 billion in annual sales. CEA’s resources are available online at, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry.

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