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US record companies have re-ignited their attack on Internet music entrepreneurs by planning to file a lawsuit against Diamond Multimedia, maker of the Rio PMP300 portable music player. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has joined forces with the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies to charge Diamond with "violating" the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA). "In doing so, [Diamond] encourages consumers to infringe the rights of artists by trafficking in unlicensed music recordings on the Internet," said an RIAA statement. The RIAA is seeking an injunction to stop Diamond from distributing its Rio player, which supports the MPEG1 Layer 3 (MP3) compression format. Diamond vice president of corporate marketing Ken Wirt has dismissed the claims saying that "the Rio PMP300 is a playback-only device and does not record. Rio simply holds audio content that is already stored on a computer hard drive." The RIAA however claims that there would be no market for Rio is it wasn't for the trade in illegal music on the Internet. "MP3 portable recording devices…capitalise on and are likely to exacerbate the problem of illegal MP3 music files," said the RIAA statement. "It seems doubtful that there would be a market for MP3 recording devices but for the thousands and thousands of illicit songs on the Internet." Wirt claims this is "grossly false" and accuses the RIAA of putting up smoke screens to slow down the digital distribution of music until the major record labels are ready to capitalise on it. ®

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