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Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Unauthorized internet reseller of plaintiff’s products is not guilty of trademark infringement, and does not cause actionable initial interest confusion, by using plaintiff’s trademarks in meta tags of website at which plaintiff’s and its competitors’ products are sold, and in...

Audio File - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions - Updated January 21, 2000

29 F.Supp.2d 624 (C.D. Cal. October 26, 1998) aff'd. on other grounds, _F.3d_ (9th Cir., June 15, 1999)

(Plaintiffs, various trade organizations representing creators, manufacturers and distributors of sound recordings, sought to enjoin defendant from marketing a product called the Rio in alleged violation of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, 17 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. ("AHRA"). The Rio is a portable handheld device capable of receiving, storing and re-playing digital audio files. Digital audio files can be downloaded from personal computers, stored on the Rio's hard drive, and played back. The Rio's hard drive memory card can be removed and reinstalled in other Rios, permitting downloaded audio files to be exchanged among Rio owners. The Rio does not posses any digital audio output capability, however, and therefore cannot be used to create additional copies of downloaded files.

The court determined that the Rio was a digital audio recording device subject to the strictures of the AHRA. However, the court determined that injunctive relief was unwarranted, and denied plaintiffs' motion. Any harm caused by the sale of the Rio (such as its use in copying music illegally posted to the Internet) could be redressed by the statute's royalty payment scheme.)

180 F. 3d 1072 (9th Cir., June 15, 1999)

The Ninth Circuit denied plaintiffs' application for a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendant from marketing the Rio PMP 300 ("Rio"). The Rio is a portable handheld device capable of receiving, storing and replaying digital audio files. To operate the Rio, a user downloads digital audio files from a personal computer to the Rio's hard drive. These files can then be "played back" and heard through headphones connected to the Rio. The hard drive's memory card can be removed and reinstalled in other Rios, permitting downloaded audio files to be exchanged among Rio owners. The Rio does not possess any digital audio output capability, however, and therefore cannot be used to create additional copies of downloaded files.

Plaintiffs claimed that defendant's marketing of the Rio violated the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, 17 U.S.C. Sections 1001 et seq. ("AHRA"), which requires all "digital audio recording devices" to be equipped with technology designed to prevent the device's use in mass copying of copyrighted sound recordings. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding that the Rio was not a "digital audio recording device" subject to the strictures of the AHRA. Instead, it was a device that merely facilitated an individual's non-commercial, personal use of copyrighted recordings. Said the Ninth Circuit: "The Rio merely makes copies in order to render portable, or "space shift", those files that already reside on a user's hard drive. ... Such copying is paradigmatic non-commercial personal use entirely consistent with the purposes of the Act."

The Ninth Circuit accordingly denied plaintiffs' application for injunctive relief.

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