Two consumers in California, frustrated after unwittingly purchasing copy protected compact discs, have decided to file a class action lawsuit against the five major record companies.
Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court under California's consumer protection statutes, the suit asks that the copy protected discs be banned, or at least that they require warning labels indicating that they are "inferior in quality and hazardous to computers."
While they may be the first to take legal action, the two Californians are not the first to complain about the shortcomings of copy-protected CDs. Aside from the fact that the discs prevent consumers from copying music for their own personal use (in a car system or portable, for example), or playing them on computer CD-Rom drives, a myriad of technical problems have been reported, including compromised sound quality, skipping, refusal to play entirely and crashing on Apple computers. The discs are designed to make them imcompatible with computer CD Rom drives, preventing the making of digital copies and the creation of MP3s for file swapping.
The Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) response is not surprising, president Cary Sherman calling the case "frivolous" and repeating that "music creators have the right to protect their property from theft, just like owners of any other property."
The two consumers in question have some fairly powerful legal representation in the firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, which is well known for launching class action lawsuits for huge sums. If the major record companies continue to directly equate digital piracy with the current slump in their sales, this fight could prove to be a high profile and important battle.