Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, Inc. v. Denso International America, Inc., No. 18-7141 (D.C. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In the GM/Ford action, AARC filed suit under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) for alleged violations of the Act. A second, substantially similar lawsuit was filed by AARC against FCA and Mitsubishi. The district court consolidated the GM/Ford action and the FCA action. At issue in this appeal are the issues regarding the coverage of the AHRA.
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgments, holding that a digital audio recorder is covered by the AHRA only if it can make a "digital audio copied recording" that is also a "digital musical recording" as that term is defined by the Act; because it is undisputed that the hard drives in appellees' devices do not contain only sounds, they do not qualify as digital musical recordings and, therefore, the devices do not qualify as digital audio recording devices subject to the Act; and the court rejected AARC's partition theory and held that, at least where a device fixes a reproduction of a digital musical recording in a single, multi-purpose hard drive, the entire disk, and not any logical partition of that disk, is the "material object" that must satisfy the definition of a "digital musical recording" for the recording device to qualify under the Act.