While Diamond officials avoided calls, three heavyweight UK industry bodies backed the landmark suit brought against the company by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which was filed last Friday.
The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) came out in unanimous support of their US colleagues. A spokesperson for the BPI said: "We feel that Diamond's Rio player encourages piracy." This notion is shared by the UK's Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) which believes that "the majority of downloaded MP3 files are in fact illegal and this player only encourages the use of these files". Mark Isherwood, director of New Media Technology at MCPS has little doubt the RIO would exacerbate "the MP3 problem" and sees little alternative but to make a stand.
Doing what the music industry sees as "the right thing" is however, "little more than standing in front of a large express train waving your hands," concedes Isherwood. The issue of piracy remains a massive problem that has plunged the music industry into one of the most "difficult times in its history". Although its officials know what they want done, they don't understand how to do it.
The BPI and IFPI for example, are lobbying for copyright owners to have exclusive rights over how their music is distributed but thus far have no idea how to execute their plans. The BPI spokesperson denied the plan is a redundant ideal but conceded that technology is proving a formidable challenge: "Simply, the problem is that the technology fuelling this debate is moving far too quickly."
Diamond Multimedia refused to comment.