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Diamond, RIAA end MP3 spat

Both parties drop legal battles, become best of pals

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Erstwhile arch-enemies over the MP3 digital music market Diamond Multimedia and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have agreed to make up and be friendly. Both organisations yesterday confirmed that they had agreed to suspend their legal battle, though neither would specify what each has had to do to ensure their "mutually satisfactory resolution of outstanding legal issues". War broke out between the two last year when the RIAA sued Diamond alleging that the latter's Rio PMP300 player contravened the US 1992 Audio Home Recording Act by failing to build into copy protection and because Diamond had made no attempt to pay royalties to artists. However, the RIAA effectively lost the case when the judge ruled Diamond was not responsible for acts of piracy made by third-party Rio users and refused to block sales of the Rio as the RIAA had requested. More recently, the Court of Appeal ruled that Rio is not a digital audio recording device and therefore not subject to the Home Recording Act after all. "Because the Rio cannot make copies from transmissions or from digital music media such as CDs and tapes, but instead can only make copies from a computer hard drive, it is not a digital audio recording device," said the court. That killed the RIAA case, but since Diamond had by then already embraced the music industry's Secure Digital Music Initiative and had said it was now time to support copy protection, the RIAA's battle had become largely symbolic. Diamond's defamation suit against the RIAA, instigated soon after the launch of the original anti-Rio suit, was also dropped, the company said yesterday. ®

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