"We sincerely doubt that there would be a market for the MP3 portable recording devices
but for the thousands and thousands of illegal songs on the Internet."
-- RIAA president Hilary Rosen
The Diamond Rio MP3
player was the first mass produced MP3 player to hit the North American market and immediately became the target of a Recording Industry Association of America
) lawsuit. The lawsuit, if won by the RIAA, would have probably torpedoed the MP3 player industry before it ever got started. The RIAA's argument was the Rio was a digital recording device and illegal under the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act
). The AHRA specified that any digital recording device capable of making digital copies (like DAT
) had to have built in copy protection
. The Rio had no such copy protection and the RIAA believed it should be outlawed.
The problem with the RIAA's lawsuit, as any blind fool could see, the Rio was not a digital recording device. It couldn't make digital copies. A three-judge panel saw it that way too and threw out the case. A user can make a copy of any music he owns for portable use. The Rio simply facilitated this. RIAA's lawsuit
was from the get go frivolous
and as the judges ruled "lacked common sense