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RIAA Sues Technicolor, Alleging CD Piracy

4 Apr, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sued Thomson Multimedia, parent company of Technicolor Inc.,which replicates DVDs, videocassettes and CDs, for allegedly illegally copying and distributing pirated CDs.

According to the RIAA's complaint, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Technicolor's plant in Camarillo, Calif. has knowingly copied and distributed pirated CDs from artists such as N-Sync, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Will Smith, Amber, Lauryn Hill, Marc Anthony, and Julio Iglesias.

Thomson, released a statement denying the claims.

"Thomson multimedia considers that the RIAA allegations concerning a very small number of replication orders completed by Technicolor prior to its acquisition by Thomson to have no merit," the statement said. "Technicolor denies the allegations of piracy and will vigorously contest the claims asserted by the RIAA litigation."

Motion Picture Association of America spokeswoman Emily Kutner said the movie trade organization is unaware of any video related issues with Technicolor, despite the RIAA's claims.

"The physical evidence connecting the Technicolor plant to these CDs is crystal clear, so our case is strong," said Matt Oppenheim, RIAA's SVP, Business and Legal Affairs.

Pointing to the failure of Technicolor to live up to the legal obligations stemming from a settlement of similar claims in 1998 by the record companies by refusing to allow for required inspection of books and facilities, Oppenheim said that, "We fear that the CDs we have filed suit on are only the tip of the iceberg."

For the past year, the RIAA has tried to negotiate a settlement with Technicolor but the company has rebuffed attempts to reach a settlement, despite the fact that there is clear physical evidence that these CDs originated from the Camarillo plant, Oppenheim said.

"It's unfortunate that Technicolor has so far ignored our repeated attempts to reach an out-of-court settlement with them," he said.

Thomson's statement claims the company is unfairly under fire.

"RIAA is not addressing the root cause of piracy and instead is targeting a legitimate replicator with longstanding relationships of trust with major content owners," the statement said. "The amounts involved in this claim, which are immaterial to Technicolor and Thomson, would in any case be covered by an indemnity under the agreement by which Thomson acquired Technicolor in 2001."

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